Mark David Chapman, the man who shot and killed John Lennon on May 8, 1980, has been denied parole again. Chapman, who now resides in Wende Correctional Facility, plead guilty for the crime and was sentenced to twenty years to life in prison. At each parole hearing, the prison system is inundated with letters and phone calls rallying against his release.
Chapman originally claimed that his motivations stemmed from delusion associated with the book The Catcher in the Rye:
Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. – Mark David Chapman
More recently (some claim in an effort to gain his freedom), he has begun to take personal responsibility for the murder and stated that he now recognizes Lennon not as a caricature, but as a human being:
“I feel that I see John Lennon now not as a celebrity. I did then. I saw him as a cardboard cutout on an album cover. I was very young and stupid, and you get caught up in the media and the records and the music. And now I’ve come to grips with the fact that John Lennon was a person. This has nothing to do with being a Beatle or a celebrity or famous.”
Chapman will be up for parole again in 7 years and critics state that it is unlikely that he will ever be granted release.