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John Lennon's killer finds Jesus, but not parole

By Niki D’Andrea

Mark David Chapman was denied parole yesterday, for the fifth time. The man who murdered John Lennon on December 8, 1980 was sentenced to 20 years to life for his crime. The week before his parole hearing, the parole board received 50 letters and a petition signed by 1000 people opposing Chapman’s release. He had three letters of support.

Chapman has long claimed that the peace-loving Beatle would have forgiven him, but Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, told the Daily News that she is opposed to Chapman receiving parole, and believes he should remain incarcerated for his own safety, saying, “There are so many people out there who dislike him. It's safer for him to stay in jail."

And Chapman’s time in prison hasn’t exactly been what you’d call “hard” time. Although he’s been behind bars at Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York since 1981, he’s enjoyed 42-hour conjugal visits in a private modular home with his wife Gloria since 1992. He has his own prison cell in a special housing unit for at-risk prisoners and allegedly spends a lot of time in the library. He also claims to be a Christian now and has said if paroled he would “…go from place to place, at least in the state, church to church, and tell people what happened to me and point them the way to Christ." (Read more of Chapman’s comments from his 2000 parole hearing here).

Chapman will be eligible for parole again in 2010.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea