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Mark David Chapman is a U.S. convicted murderer and former security guard, best known for shooting and killing Beatles member John Lennon.
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Mark David Chapman is an American convicted murderer best known for shooting and killing former Beatles member John Lennon. On December 8, 1980, the former security gaurd from Hawaii shot the musician outside his Manhattan apartment. Throughout his trial, much attention was paid to Chapman's psychiatric state and insanity plea. Chapman later overturned with a guilty plea,
"So this is obviously very embarrassing for me now, having committed murder."
"If [Lennon] was less famous than three or four other people on the list, he would not have been shot."
and was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 10, 1955, Mark David Chapman is considered one of the world's most infamous convicted murderers. On December 8, 1980, Chapman, a longtime fan of the incredibly popular British band the Beatles, shot and killed former Beatles member John Lennon outside of Lennon's apartment in New York City.
In 1980, John Lennon released the album Double Fantasy—his first record release in years—with his wife, Yoko Ono, bringing the ex-Beatle out of seclusion and putting him back in the spotlight. On December 6, 1980, Chapman purchased Double Fantasy at a New York record store. Two days later, with the album in hand, he waited outside the Dakota, Lennon's posh New York apartment building. He watched as Lennon exited the building at approximately 5:50 p.m., on his way to a recording session, and walked toward his limo. A smiling Lennon generously agreed to autograph the album for Chapman while an amateur photographer clicked a photograph. Chapman then, strangely, placed his newly autographed album atop a nearby planter.
Around 10:30 that evening, Lennon returned home in his limo. Chapman was waiting. This time, he was after much more than an autograph. As Lennon and wife Yoko Ono left the car, Chapman raised his gun and fired several shots at the musician, hitting him four times, in the back and the chest. Two of the shots were fatal. Ono, who was standing next to her husband at the time, witnessed the incident. John Lennon was pronounced dead just one hour later, at the nearby Roosevelt Hospital.
When New York City police officers arrived at the scene, they discovered Chapman casually thumbing through a copy of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.
The following day, the world grieved for John Lennon. A vigil was held outside of the Dakota, drawing thousands of anguished fans.
During Chapman's trial, much attention was paid to his psychiatric state. His lawyer initially entered a plea of insanity, which Chapman later overturned with a guilty plea. His autographed album was a key piece of evidence in the case. Chapman told the jury that he had been living in Hawaii and working as a security guard when he decided to kill Lennon, "because he was very famous." Chapman was found guilty of murder, sentenced to life imprisonment, and ordered to receive psychiatric treatment.
After more than three decades at the Wende Correctional Facility in New York, in August 2012, Chapman entered his seventh parole hearing. He was denied parole yet again, and ordered to remain at Wende. During the hearing, Chapman told the parole board that he was ashamed of committing murder. "So this is obviously very embarrassing for me now, having committed murder," he said, according to NBC News. He also stated that he had considered killing Johnny Carson or George C. Scott instead of Lennon, but chose the former Beatle star because he was the most famous. "If [Lennon] was less famous than three or four other people on the list, he would not have been shot," Chapman said.
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