John Lennon’s killer was denied parole for a second time, New York state officials said today (Oct. 9) on what would have been the slain Beatle’s birthday. Releasing Mark David Chapman after 22 years in prison would “deprecate the seriousness” of the crime, the parole board said in a statement. The board said Chapman had “acceptable” behavior in prison but that didn’t guarantee he wouldn’t pose a threat to society.
State Parole Division spokesman Thomas Grant said the timing of the notice and what would have been Lennon’s 62nd birthday wasn’t intentional.
Chapman, 47, is serving 20 years to life for shooting Lennon outside his New York apartment in 1980 as the former Beatle returned from a late-night recording session. At his first parole hearing two years ago, Chapman said he did not deserve to go free. He will be up for parole again in 2004.
Transcripts of the latest hearing were not immediately available. At his first hearing, Chapman said: “I believe once you take a person’s life, there’s no way you can make up for that. Period.”
Chapman lives in a housing unit separate from the general population for his own safety and works as a clerk in prison, said James Flateau, spokesman for the state Department of Correctional Services. He was involved in three “minor incidents” between 1989 and 1994 for delaying an inmate count and refusing to follow an order, but nothing since 1994, Flateau said.
Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, did not immediately respond to a request for comment left at her New York office. She had opposed Chapman’s parole two years ago, saying she was concerned for the safety of herself and her children.