John Lennon’s killer is up for parole for the 10th time after fatally shooting the former Beatle outside his Manhattan apartment on December 8, 1980.
Mark David Chapman is scheduled to go before New York’s parole board in what will be his 10th attempt to win release.
A decision regarding Chapman’s case is expected within two weeks of the parole hearing. The now 63-year-old Chapman is serving 20 years to life in the Wende Correctional Facility in western New York.
The state Board of Parole last denied parole to Chapman two years ago, noting that he described the murder of Lennon as “selfish and evil.” Chapman remained behind bars, in part because of the premeditated and “celebrity-seeking” nature of the crime, according to USA Today.
The New York Daily News reported that fans are worried the state Parole Board may have a change of heart since the recent release of Herman Bell, who spent four decades in prison for the murders of two New York City police officers.
New York City radio personality Jim Kerr and dozens of Beatles fans joined Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis in Central Park’s Strawberry Fields to urge the Parole Board to deny Chapman’s release.
“There are some crimes that so heinous that I believe the only way to deal with it is to deny them liberty for the rest of their lives,” Kerr said, as reported by The Daily News. “Sometimes the criminal justice system needs to be punitive.”
Kerr also said he believes Lennon would have forgiven his killer.
“There’s a difference between forgiving someone and setting him free,” Kerr said to the news outlet.
Chapman murdered Lennon outside the Dakota Apartments on the Upper West Side of New York City, where the founder of The Beatles lived.
Early in the day on December 8, 1980, Lennon had signed an autograph for Chapman as he was leaving his home to head to a recording session with his wife, Yoko Ono. When he returned from the session later that evening, Chapman shot the singer, striking Lennon in the left side of his back, with two other bullets penetrating his left shoulder.
Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for his crimes. He has been eligible for parole since 2000 and has been rejected nine times.
The Daily News reported that Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, has sent a letter every time Chapman has gone before the board asking that he be “kept locked up not only for the safety of her and the slain Beatle’s two sons but also for Chapman’s, who she said could be at risk of harm from still-angry Lennon fans.”