Skip to content

John Lennon’s killer admits he ‘wanted the fame too much’

The man who shot John Lennon told a parole board he knew it was wrong to kill the Beatle – but was seeking fame and had “evil” in his heart.

Mark Chapman said he had a “selfish disregard for human life of global consequence”.

The board denied him parole for a 12th time.

Chapman, in a transcript released by New York officials on Monday under a freedom of information request, said his decision to kill Lennon was “my big answer to everything. I wasn’t going to be a nobody anymore.”

Image: John Lennon in New York in May 1968

He told the board: “I am not going to blame anything else or anybody else for bringing me there.

“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.”

Image: Chapman 42 years ago, after the shooting

Chapman killed Lennon on the night of 8 December 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.

Image: The .38 calibre handgun used by Chapman to kill John Lennon, was put on display on the 25th anniversary of the murder

Image: Lennon on the microphone, playing at Liverpool’s Cavern Club with the Beatles in 1961

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 life sentence of 20 years to life at Green Haven Correctional Facility in the Hudson Valley in New York state.

Image: A memorial to Lennon sits in Central Park’s Strawberry Fields in New York

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 an August hearing.

In denying him release, the board said Chapman’s action left “the world recovering from the void of which you created”.

Chapman’s next parole board appearance is scheduled for February 2024.