John Lennon’s killer says there was ‘evil in my heart’


The man who gunned down John Lennon outside his New York City apartment building in 1980 told a parole board that he knew it was wrong to kill the beloved former Beatle, but that he was seeking fame and had ‘evil in my heart.’

Mark David Chapman made the comments to a board that denied him parole for a twelfth time, citing his ‘selfish disregard for human life of global consequence.’ 

Chapman, in a transcript released by state officials Monday under a freedom of information request, said the decision to kill Lennon was ‘my big answer to everything. I wasn´t going to be a nobody, anymore.’

‘I am not going to blame anything else or anybody else for bringing me there,’ Chapman told the board. 

‘I knew what I was doing, and I knew it was evil, I knew it was wrong, but I wanted the fame so much that I was willing to give everything and take a human life.’

Chapman killed Lennon on the night of December 8, 1980, as he and Yoko Ono were returning to their Upper West Side apartment. 

Earlier that day, Lennon had signed an autograph for Chapman on a copy of his recently released album, ‘Double Fantasy.’

Mark David Chapman, the man who shot and killed John Lennon outside his Manhattan apartment building in 1980. Chapman told a parole board that he knew it was wrong to kill the beloved former Beatle, but that he was seeking fame and had 'evil in his heart.' He is pictured in 2018

Mark David Chapman, the man who shot and killed John Lennon outside his Manhattan apartment building in 1980. Chapman told a parole board that he knew it was wrong to kill the beloved former Beatle, but that he was seeking fame and had ‘evil in his heart.’ He is pictured in 2018

John Lennon was killed in 1980 as he and Yoko Ono were returning to their Upper West Side apartment

Mark David Chapman, the man who shot and killed John Lennon outside his Manhattan apartment building in 1980, has been denied parole for a 12th time

Mark David Chapman, the man who shot and killed John Lennon outside his Manhattan apartment building in 1980, has been denied parole for a 12th time

Chapman, 67, told the board: ‘This was evil in my heart. I wanted to be somebody and nothing was going to stop that.’

Chapman is serving a 20-years-to-life sentence at Green Haven Correctional Facility in New York´s Hudson Valley. He has repeatedly expressed remorse during his parole hearings over the years.

‘I hurt a lot of people all over the place and if somebody wants to hate me, that´s OK, I get it,’ he said at the August 31 hearing.

In denying him release, the board mentioned Chapman’s action has left ‘the world recovering from the void of which you created.’ Chapman’s next parole board appearance is scheduled for February 2024.

In June, John Hinckley Jr., who shot and wounded President Ronald Reagan in 1981, was freed from court oversight, officially concluding decades of supervision by legal and mental health professionals. Hinckley had been acquitted by reason of insanity.

Chapman called his actions ‘despicable’ during his hearing in 2020, and said he would have ‘no complaint whatsoever’ if they chose to leave him in prison for the rest of his life. 

Crowds gathering outside the home of John Lennon in New York after the news that he had been shot and killed in 1980

Crowds gathering outside the home of John Lennon in New York after the news that he had been shot and killed in 1980

Chapman said at a 2020 hearing of Lennon: 'I assassinated him ... because he was very, very, very famous and that's the only reason and I was very, very, very, very much seeking self-glory. Very selfish.'

Chapman said at a 2020 hearing of Lennon: ‘I assassinated him … because he was very, very, very famous and that’s the only reason and I was very, very, very, very much seeking self-glory. Very selfish.’

Chapman is serving a 20-years-to-life sentence at Green Haven Correctional Facility, north of New York City, according to online state corrections records

Chapman is serving a 20-years-to-life sentence at Green Haven Correctional Facility, north of New York City, according to online state corrections records

Chapman was 25 when he shot Lennon dead outside the musician's apartment building on December 8, 19080, as Lennon and wife Yoko Ono were returning to their Upper West Side apartment

Chapman was 25 when he shot Lennon dead outside the musician’s apartment building on December 8, 19080, as Lennon and wife Yoko Ono were returning to their Upper West Side apartment

He added at the time: ‘I assassinated him … because he was very, very, very famous and that’s the only reason and I was very, very, very, very much seeking self-glory. Very selfish.’

He has said previously that he feels ‘more and more shame’ every year for the crime.

On the day of the murder, he went to The Dakota in the afternoon and asked Lennon to sign an album for him. 

He obliged him then got in his waiting limo to go to the recording studio. 

‘I was too far in,’ Chapman told a parole board in 2018. ‘I do remember having the thought of, `Hey, you have got the album now. Look at this, he signed it, just go home.´ But there was no way I was just going to go home.’ 

When Lennon returned to the building with Yoko at around 10.30pm that night, Chapman was still there. 

He shot him four times in the back and shoulder. Lennon was pronounced dead in the hospital an hour later. 

When police arrived to arrest Chapman, he was flicking through pages of The Catcher in the Rye.

At trial, he rejected his lawyer’s attempts to enter an insanity plea and instead pleaded guilty. 

He was first eligible for parole in 2000. 

In prison, he is kept in isolation against his will to protect him from other inmates. 

He works as an administrative clerk and is only allowed out of his cell for three hours a day. 

Catcher in the Rye-obsessed killer of John Lennon 

Chapman was 25 when he shot Lennon dead outside the apartment building on December 8, 1980.

He was angry at the time about the immense fame the former Beatle had amassed, he later said. 

On the day of the murder, he went to The Dakota in the afternoon and asked Lennon to sign an album for him. 

He obliged him then got in his waiting limo to go to the recording studio. 

When Lennon returned to the building with Yoko at around 10.30pm that night, Chapman was still there.

He shot him four times in the back and shoulder with a .38 revolver.

Lennon was pronounced dead in the hospital an hour later. 

When police arrived to arrest Chapman, he was flicking through pages of The Catcher in the Rye.

At trial, he rejected his lawyer’s attempts to enter an insanity plea and instead pleaded guilty. 



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