John Lennon’s killer apologised to the singer’s widow, Yoko Ono, calling the assassination an “extremely selfish act” for which he believes he “deserves” the death penalty.
Chapman shot the singer four times in the back as he and Ono walked into the Dakota Apartments building in the Upper West Side.
According to a transcript of the parole hearing obtained by the PA news agency, Chapman told the parole board he killed Lennon, 40, for “self-glory” and claimed he thinks about the crime “all the time”.
The killer apologised to Lennon’s family, saying: “I assassinated him… because he was very, very, very famous and that’s the only reason and I was very, very, very, very much seeking self-glory, very selfish.
“I want to add that and emphasise that greatly. It was an extremely selfish act. I’m sorry for the pain that I caused to her (Ono). I think about it all of the time.”
The hearing was held on August 19 at Wende Correctional Facility in New York, where Chapman has been held for the last eight years.
The killer became eligible for parole in 2000 after serving 20 years in prison. He is required to have a parole hearing every two years but was denied release for the 11th time during last month’s hearing on the grounds it “would be incompatible with the welfare of society”.
Ono has written to the board for several of Chapman’s parole hearings to warn he continues to pose a threat to her and her family.
She made no public comment on the killer’s comments, but tweeted about an event next month to mark what would have been Lennon’s 80th birthday.
GIMME SOME TRUTH. ðŸ“¢ RT!
This October 9th, to celebrate John Lennon’s 80th birthday, join us for an online celebration of John’s life to celebrate our community, creativity and connection. Raising the spirit of peace and love – with great artists, great people and great songs. pic.twitter.com/81WEkVfvAg
â€” Yoko Ono (@yokoono) September 21, 2020
Chapman, who was 25 when he murdered Lennon, said now he is older, he can see it was a “despicable act” and “pretty creepy”.
He discussed his fascination with the book The Catcher In The Rye at the time of the murder and said he identified with the main character’s “isolation, loneliness”.
Asked if justice had been served, Chapman told the parole board: “When you knowingly plot someone’s murder and know it’s wrong and you do it for yourself, that’s a death penalty right there in my opinion.
He added: “If the law and you choose to leave me in here for the rest of my life, I have no complaint whatsoever.”
In its decision, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision board said it found Chapman’s statement that “infamy brings you glory” disturbing.
It commended his “personal growth and productive use of time” but said his “selfish actions stole the chance for future fans to experience the words of inspiration that this artist provide for millions of people. Your violent act caused devastation to not only family and former band members, but the world”.