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Mark David Chapman Says He Was "Such an Idiot" for Murdering John Lennon

Image courtesy of NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (via ABC News Radio)
Image courtesy of NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (via ABC News Radio)

Earlier this month, John Lennon 's killer, Mark David Chapman , was denied parole for the eighth time since his incarceration for the December 8, 1980, crime.  During his most recent parole hearing, the transcript of which was just released, we get a rare look into Chapman's current state of mind, and his thoughts on his infamous deed. 

In the August 20 interview before the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision's parole board, Chapman said he was "sorry for being such an idiot and choosing the wrong way for glory."

Chapman talked at length about what motivated to kill the Beatles legend, expressed his remorse at his actions and stressed how his life focused on religion.

"My life had sunk into a depressed state.  I was drinking.  I just saw that as a way out…a lazy way out of my doldrums," Chapman explained.  "It was a horrible decision, but I knew what I was doing…That's why I pled guilty."

Noting that he wasn't "trying to make excuses" for his actions, Chapman admitted, "That bright light of fame, of infamy, notoriety was there.  I couldn't resist it.  My self-esteem was shot, and I was looking for an easy way out."

Chapman told the board he no longer desires the attention he once craved, pointing out that he hasn't agreed to a media interview in 24 years.  He said he's now "interested in one thing and that's ministering prisoners."

The 59-year-old murderer said he was "sorry for this crime," adding that he realized killing Lennon hurt not just the singer's family, but people around the world who appreciated his music.

"Many, many people loved him," he said.  "He was a great and talented man, and they are still hurting."

Chapman, who has been kept in involuntary protective custody for almost the entire time he's been in prison, also said he realized his life might be in danger were he to be paroled.  "There is some people out there that might want to harm me, but I leave it God's hands," Chapman said.  "I trust him.  If that could happen sometime in the future, I will still trust him." 

During the proceedings, Chapman made clear that he didn't think he would be given parole. He was of course correct.  In denying parole, a corrections department panel said it had determined that there was "a reasonable probability that [Chapman] would not live and remain at liberty without again violating the law and [his] release would be incompatible with the welfare of society and would so deprecate the serious nature of the crime as to undermine respect for the law."

Chapman was sentenced in 1981 to 20 years to life for Lennon's murder and was first eligible for parole on December 4, 2000.  His next hearing is scheduled for August 2016.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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