Update: Mark David Chapman was denied parole for the 10th time on Aug. 23. The parole panel wrote in their decision that granting Chapman parole “would be incompatible with the welfare and safety of society and would so deprecate the serious nature of the crime as to undermine respect for the law.”
John Lennon’s murderer is up for parole for the 10th time — and as part of the process, he has a new mug shot.
Mark David Chapman, who pleaded guilty to murdering the Beatles icon outside his Manhattan apartment building in 1980, posed in his prison garb for the above photo, which was taken in January but is finally being released. The 63-year-old, better known as inmate 81A3860 within the New York State Department of Corrections, has a smug expression on his face, which has generated lots of comments on the internet, ranging from “Oh, look. He’s happy” to “Let him rot.”
The photo surfaces as Chapman, who shot Lennon four times at close range with hollow-point bullets hours after Lennon gave him an autograph, waits to hear if he’ll be paroled. Currently in Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, N.Y., which is east of Buffalo, Chapman, who was sentenced to 20 years to life, is expected to go in front of the parole board this week and learn the outcome within two weeks.
The last time he was up for parole, in 2016, the board stated Chapman was “selfish and evil.” The report said he would remain in prison due to the premeditated nature of his crime — he flew to New York City on more than one occasion to try to kill Lennon — as well as the crime’s “celebrity-seeking” aspect.
Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, who had just returned home from a late-night recording studio session with her husband when he was shot, usually submits a letter to the parole board for the members to consider when making their decision. Ono, a musician, artist, and activist, is now 85 and uses a wheelchair to get around.
In a new interview, Chapman’s stepsister Linda Walker said she is praying that he is denied parole again because she fears he could come after his family if he is set free. Walker’s mother, Reathy Breteler, was married to Chapman’s father, David Curtis Chapman, until his death in 1995. “If he ever got out, holy moly,” Walker told the U.K. tabloid the Daily Mail.
Earlier this year, Paul McCartney, Lennon’s fellow Beatle and songwriting partner, participated in the March for Our Lives, for gun safety, in Lennon’s honor. He marched in NYC not far from where Lennon was killed. “One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right around here, so it’s important to me,” he said.
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