Board denies parole for John Lennon’s killer

NEW YORK — John Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman, was denied parole Thursday for the seventh time after officials in New York concluded that his actions showed a “callous disregard for the sanctity of human life.”

Chapman, 57, is scheduled to have his next appearance before the parole board in August 2014.

A statement released by the board said Chapman was interviewed via a video conference from the Wende Correctional Center in upstate New York on Wednesday. It said a full transcript of the conference would be released later.

On Aug. 25, 1981, Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for the murder of the ex-Beatle, who was shot to death outside his Manhattan apartment building in December 1980 as he returned home from a recording session with his wife, Yoko Ono.

In its latest rejection of parole, board members noted that Chapman had “shot and killed an innocent victim, an international music star.”

Although they acknowledged that he had no prior convictions and a record of “good conduct, program achievements, educational accomplishments” and other “positive” behavior while in prison, they said these were not enough to warrant parole.

“Therefore, despite your positive efforts while incarcerated, your release at this time would greatly undermine respect for the law and tend to trivialize the tragic loss of life which you caused as a result of this heinous, unprovoked, violent, cold and calculated crime,” the board said.

Chapman, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, has requested parole every two years since 2000. At his first parole hearing, he said shooting Lennon made him feel like “something.” “I felt like nothing, and I felt if I shot him, I would become something,” he said then.

Ono has opposed parole for Chapman and in 2000 wrote a letter to the board urging he not be freed. If he were, she wrote, she “and John’s two sons would not feel safe for the rest of our lives.”

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