John Lennon's Killer: Parole Board Transcript Released! (NIRV)
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On December 8, 1980, John Lennon, the internationally known rock star and former member of the Beatles, was gunned down outside his Manhattan, New York, apartment building. His killer was arrested, convicted and sentenced to a 20-years-to-life prison term.
On August 22, 2012, Mark David Chapman, the murderer of Mr. Lennon, sat down before the New York State Parole Board Commission; it was his 7th appearance.
The following are actual portions of the official transcript of that appearance.
Q = Question by a Commissioner A = Answer by Mark Chapman
EXAMINATION BY COMMISSIONER THOMPSON:
Q Good afternoon. Mark Chapman?
A Good afternoon.
Q I’m Commissioner Thompson. Also on the panel with me today are Commissioners Coppola and Crangle.
COMMISSIONER CRANGLE: How are you doing?
COMMISSIONER COPPOLA: Hello.
BY COMMISSIONER THOMPSON:
Q Okay. You’re here today for a reappearance?
Q Okay. The instant offense [the crime] involved you waiting in front of the victim’s residence and shooting the victim several times, causing his death. The victim was with his wife. Do you want to say anything about the instant offense, sir?
A It was a very selfish act and I deeply regret it. I’m sorry for my crime.
Q All right. And how long were you at this location, and how long were you stalking this location, awaiting the victim?
A I learned of the location in Hawaii through a book, so that’s when it started. And then twice I flew to New York, so I knew right where he lived. On that particular day, I was there all day from early morning.
Q And why did you target this victim?
A Because he was very famous.
Q And what did you want to get out of it?
A Attention, bottom line.
Q All right. So, you knowingly wanted to inflict death to this victim, John Lennon, correct?
A Yes, absolutely.
Q All right. So, you waited for him all day with this weapon, and when he arrived with his wife, what happened?
A Mrs. Lennon was—she came out of the car first and she went a little ahead of him, maybe 30 feet. I don’t know if he was talking to the driver or what. And then he came out and she had already gone into the alcove of the building. And then when Mr. Lennon passed me I turned, pulled out my weapon, and shot him in the back…. It was just me and him in the archway of the Dakota [apartment building] and I knew who he was. I met him earlier that day.
Q Since your last appearance, you’ve remained in protective custody, correct?
A I believe it’s called involuntary protective custody. There’s protective custody and there’s involuntary protective custody. I’m in involuntary.
Q Involuntary protective custody. Yes, I stand corrected. All right … you said you did this for the attention and notoriety?
Q Do you feel you received that?
Q And how do you feel about that today?
A Absolutely was not worth it. Absolutely ridiculously selfish act to take another human life so that I could be pumped up into, you know, something that I wasn’t to begin with. I deeply regret it.
EXAMINATION BY COMMISSIONER CRANGLE:
Q And what’s your feeling about all this now? I mean, you’ve said that you wanted to be somebody, right?
A Yes, sir.
Q And then you found out—or, in your opinion, murderers aren’t “somebodies,” they’re “nobodies.” Did you say that [at] one time?
A I said I was a nobody.
Q What about—how do you feel about yourself now?
A Because of my years—I was thinking about this and my age, it’s 57—I’ve come to the conclusion what happened was a very horrible thing. It did not need to be done. It was done for extremely selfish reasons that I regret to this day. I personally can’t think of anything more selfish to do, take somebody’s life for your own aggrandizement, and there were a lot of people in pain then and people that still want to know what happened now. That’s why I’m sitting before you.
Q People are still in pain, right?
A They’re still in pain, sir. I get letters all the time.
Q Are you in pain still?
A That’s a great question, sir. I wouldn’t say as much pain. I would say that the pain I have now is trying to stay as close as I can to what I think is right, and that is to stay as close as I can to God. So any pain I have, I try to give it to Him and He takes care of it for me. I’m looking forward, not to the streets [going home], but I’m looking forward to my future of helping others find Christ. That’s what I’m interested in now and have been for a long time.
Q So you have deep faith now?
A I have a deep relationship with Christ … I saw a film that you could actually know Christ, and before that, I didn’t know that. I just thought He was a character in a Bible and He was up there on a throne somewhere and didn’t have much to do with us. So shortly after, I met Him, found out that He’s real and He could be known and He could forgive people.
EXAMINATION BY COMMISSIONER COPPOLA:
Q Okay. What did you think was going to happen? What kind of notoriety did you think you were going to get by doing this?
A Tremendous notoriety.
Q Positive notoriety?
A No, sir. Not positive, but tremendous notoriety.
Q So, negative?
A It’s all I seemed to want at that time. It was my way out. If you go through the years and your self-worth just keeps getting smashed in and you feel like you’re an inch tall, you try to find a way out of it and I did. And I tried hard sometimes to improve myself. But then when it didn’t change, and I didn’t have the common sense and the intelligence back then to tell somebody and to grab onto them and say, “I’m in trouble here, and I’m fixing to do this and you’ve got to help me.” … I guess back then, particularly males just didn’t do that … [what I needed to say was,] “Hey, I’ve got a problem here, help me.” I didn’t think that way at all.
Q So, fast-forwarding now into the future, into the present, I mean, and as you stated, you understand that there are many people still hurting over what you did?
A A lot of people.
Q Okay. Thank you for your candidness.
BY COMMISSIONER THOMPSON:
Q You state [in the pre-Parole Board questionnaire] “I like to be”—the question asked—“I like to be in control in most situations.”
A That’s true. What I’m learning is, you know, I’m not in control. God’s in control. Look around us. I mean, we don’t know what’s going to happen an hour from now. It’s the truth. So, we have to let Him have control. He sees what’s happening an hour from now. We don’t. I’m learning to let Him have the control, let Him lead me, let Him guide me. It’s tough. I’m an independent—I’ve been independent a long time, but He’s showing me, you know, “You’re going to do better if you let Me lead you. You’re going to meet more people. You’re going to be positive toward them, instead of negative. You’re going to be happier and you’re going to have less stress if you let Me lead your life.” So that’s where I’m at now. It’s where I’m going now…. Some of it’s just being older and wiser. Most of it, however, is, as I said, being closer to Jesus, letting Him [say,] “Hey, you know, there’s somebody else that needs something. Why don’t you be interested in them? Hold back a little bit on yourself. I’ll take care of you. Think about that person, what does that person need?” So, I try to do it. When I see somebody, I say to myself, “What does that person need? What are their desires?” It’s no longer about me anymore. It’s about Jesus helping me to see somebody else’s need and maybe try and help them.
Q Is there anything else that you’d like to say at this point?
A Yes. What has changed me now from “Mr. Psychopath,” who just cared about himself and didn’t care about people’s pain, or a wife’s pain—meaning Mrs. Lennon, or their children, which are now grown—what has changed me from that is … being close to God. The main thing is feeling His love for me for the first time … finally learning He loves me regardless. Even me, convicted, condemned murderer, He loves me, and what happens when you feel His love—and it’s not from a book, it’s not from a tape—when you really experience His love, what happens is you don’t need attention from people. It helps you love others and think about others. And that’s what’s genuinely happened to me. He’s come into my life in a huge way, helped me to not look inward anymore. He takes care of that. He loves me. I’m loved now. I don’t have to look to somebody for love or attention or negative attention, or kill people or drink because I don’t feel self-esteem…. I get that from God. I get that from Jesus. So when that happens, everything changes and I’m able now to focus out instead of inwardly … I think about somebody else, like today on my visit. A fellow from Rochester came to see me out of nowhere and the whole visit was, I’m listening to him, you know, thinking about him, what’s his life like? That’s relatively new to me and it feels great, and it’s because I feel love for the first time. I really feel love … and it was a great visit. But my point was, because of His love, I’m able to think about somebody else for the first time and it feels really good. That’s His love. It will change you and get you on your feet again in this world, which has finally happened for me.
BY COMMISSIONER CRANGLE:
Q Okay. And going back to how much you’re feeling better in terms of God and speaking to God, if you were to be released, what happens if you drift off again? We have a lot of offenders that say they found God.
A I understand. But He found me. He found me. That makes the difference.
A SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR YOU—
YOU CANNOT BE DENIED
These portions of the transcript reflect only a part of the entire parole board proceeding. Mark Chapman was denied parole at this appearance, but he has found something much greater—God’s love and help and forgiveness.
God loves you, too. A portion of the Bible, God’s official transcript, states:
“God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.” —Jesus (John 3:16)
This means Someone loved you and died for you. Somebody cares for you. Someone accepts you, no matter what you have done. Someone wants to give you a new life. His name is Jesus, and if you will call out to Him and ask Him, He will give you this new life.
You cannot be denied if you turn to Jesus. The Bible says so:
“I will never send away anyone who comes to me.” —Jesus (John 6:37)
ONE THING KEEPING YOU
But there’s one thing holding you back. You need to ask God for His forgiveness. It’s the only thing keeping you from God.
Again, God’s transcript states:
“Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God’s glory.” (Romans 3:23)
“… your sins have separated you from your God.” (Isaiah 59:2)
This is why Jesus died, so that you could be forgiven.
Jesus said: “… I am the way …” (John 14:6)
“… I stand at the door and knock. If any of you hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in …” (Revelation 3:20)
But will you open up that door?
A DECISION TO BE MADE
This is your decision. An important one. Jesus has opened up heaven for you by dying in your place as God’s appointed sacrifice for sin. But you must decide. Will you accept His invitation?
If you decide yes, now is the time to put your trust in Him. You may want to express your faith in a prayer like this …
“Dear Jesus, thank You for Your love. Thank You for dying for me. I have sinned against You and others, and I am sorry. I need You, Jesus. I know now You will accept me no matter what. I want a new life. I want to change. Only You can help me. Thank You for forgiving me. I call out to You now.”
If you have turned to God in repentance and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone, you have really been forgiven and Jesus has come into your life and will never leave. You can start to enjoy this new life with Him every day. Talk with Him daily in prayer. Read the Bible, the words of His love for you. A good place to start is the Gospel of John. You will learn more about Jesus and experience His wonderful love and acceptance. The more you want Jesus, the more you will come closer to Him and feel His incredible presence.
Tell others about Jesus. Let them know what you have found. Talk with other people who really know Jesus.
Still undecided? Never forget these 3 things:
Call out to Jesus.
Ask Him to come into your life.
Ask Him to be with you!
God bless you today.