Killer of John Lennon denied parole today, the former 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 released Wednesday morning. 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. He said the timing of the notice and what would have been Lennon's 62nd birthday wasn't intentional.
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.
Chapman, 47, is serving 20 years to life for shooting Lennon outside his Manhattan apartment in 1980 as the former Beatle returned from a late-night recording session.
Transcripts of the latest hearing were not immediately available. At his parole hearing two years ago, 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.
Thoughts on John Lennon's Birthday
I didn't realize what John Lennon meant to me or the Beatles until he was killed. His death seemed all the more unfair and unbearable because he had rediscovered personal happiness and its musical expression for the first time in over ten years. Ten years seemed like a long time to me back then.
I had been a Paul-man in my youth, but after John was killed it all hit me: the incredible promise of beauty and truth and rock 'n' roll the Beatles made and kept for eight years was built on the foundation of John.
Instead of backing down from that promise - saying "after all we're only human" - the Beatles delivered and delivered and delivered for eight years until the full implications of the promise finally overwhelmed them. They were staring into the jaws of an insatiable, ravenous beast that was no less beastly because it smiled and waved and gave them money. The Beatles finally suffered a collective inability to pretend that the beast was not a beast.