Published August 30, 2012
John Lennon's killer told a parole board that as a Christian, he is "embarrassed" over his crime, and that he could have just as easily gone after Johnny Carson or George C. Scott.
The new details came out at Mark David Chapman’s seventh hearing, which took place on Aug. 22. The transcript was released Wednesday, after the Beatle killer was denied parole and ordered to remain at Wende Correctional Facility in western New York.
Chapman told the board he was living in Hawaii when he decided to kill Lennon “because he was very famous.” He also thought about killing late-night TV host Johnny Carson and actor George C. Scott.
“If [Lennon] was less famous than three or four other people on the list, he would not have been shot,” Chapman told the board.
Lennon was gunned down at the entrance to his Manhattan apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980. Chapman recounted how he staked out the building, and even approached the rock and roll legend earlier in the day for an autograph.
“He was very kind to me,” Chapman told the board. “[He was a] very cordial and very decent man.”
Nonetheless, Chapman, who said he “was so compelled to commit murder that nothing would have dragged me away from that building” waited until Lennon returned from a recording session and then shot him.
“When Mr. Lennon passed me I turned, pulled out my weapon and shot him in the back,” Chapman said.
Chapman, who was carrying a copy of the J.D. Salinger classic “Catcher in the Rye,” said he fired five shots with a .38-caliber revolver, hitting Lennon four times in front of his wife, Yoko Ono.
Chapman said he bought the murder weapon in Honolulu, and got the hollow point bullets from a police officer pal in Atlanta who did not know of his plan.
Chapman claims to be a Christian, dating back well before the murder he committed at age 25.
“So this is obviously very embarrassing for me now, having committed murder,” Chapman told the board.