John Lennon's (search) killer will remain in prison for at least two more years after being denied parole Tuesday because of the "extreme malicious intent" he showed in gunning down the former Beatle in 1980.

Mark David Chapman (search), 49, was notified of the decision late Tuesday after appearing before a three-member panel earlier in the day.

"During the interview your statement for motivation acknowledges the attention you felt this murder would generate," the board wrote in its single-page decision. "Although proven true, such rationale is bizarre and morally corrupt."

It was Chapman's third bid for freedom. He was denied parole in 2000 and again in 2002, on what would have been Lennon's 62nd birthday.

The latest denial "is based on the extreme malicious intent you exhibited [when] you fired a handgun multiple times, striking your victim -- John Lennon," the board wrote.

Chapman has been in prison more than 23 years for shooting Lennon outside his Manhattan apartment building as the musician returned from a recording session.

He became eligible for release after serving 20 years of a maximum life sentence.

Before Tuesday's hearing, a letter sent to the parole board on behalf of Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono (search), repeated her request that Chapman remain imprisoned.

In 2000, Ono said she opposed Chapman's release out of concern for the safety of herself and her children.

"I respect the board's decision," Ono said Tuesday night in a statement.

For his own safety, Chapman lives in housing separate from the general population at the Attica Correctional Facility, about 30 miles east of Buffalo, according to corrections officials.

His next appearance before the parole board will be in October 2006.