John Lennon’s killer told parole officials during his latest unsuccessful bid for release from prison that he is ashamed and sorry for gunning down the former Beatle nearly three decades ago.
Mark David Chapman was interviewed by the parole board for a fifth time Aug. 12 and was immediately denied release. A transcript of the hearing was made public Tuesday.
The 53-year-old Chapman told the parole panel that, over the years, he has come to realize the gravity of what he did, and how it affected not only Lennon, but his wife, children and anybody who knew him.
“I recognized that that 25-year-old man, I don’t think he really appreciated the life that he was taking, that this was a human being,” he said. “I feel now at 53 I have grown into a deeper understanding of what a human life is. I have changed a lot.”
As he has in the past, he also told the parole board that he was seeking notoriety and fame to counter feelings of failure when he decided to kill Lennon.
“I would be something other than a nobody, and that was my reasoning at the time,” Chapman said.
The former maintenance man from Hawaii has been in prison for nearly 28 years. He was sentenced to 20 years to life after pleading guilty to the murder. The parole board decision means he will remain in New York’s Attica Correctional Facility for at least two more years.
In its brief decision, the two-member parole panel denied release “due to concern for the public safety and welfare.”
Chapman fired five shots outside Lennon’s Manhattan apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980, hitting Lennon four times in front of his wife, Yoko Ono, and others.
Ono, who has previously written the parole board arguing against Chapman’s release, did not offer any testimony in his latest hearing.
Fifty others did, however, and 1,100 people signed a petition opposing his release. Three people wrote urging that he be set free, Heather Groll, a state Parole Division spokeswoman, said last week.
Chapman’s next appearance before the board is scheduled for August 2010.