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John Lennon's Killer Denied Parole for 10th Time
Mark David Chapman, the man who killed the former Beatles frontman John Lennon, has been denied parole for the 10th time. Members of a parole board ruled in a closed hearing on Thursday, Aug. 23, that after nearly 38 years behind bars, Chapman was still dangerous. "The panel has determined that your release would be incompatible with the welfare and safety of society," a three-member panel of the state board of parole told Chapman in a letter. Chapman will be eligible to apply again in 2020, the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said, at which time he will be 65 years old. Lennon’s assassin is serving 20 years to life after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in 1981. At his previous parole hearing in August 2016, Chapman said that at the time he killed Lennon he was a sociopath with low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. He also said he committed the crime because he thought it would make him famous. "I was obsessed on one thing and that was shooting him so that I could be somebody," said Chapman, whose recent prison photo shows a much leaner man than the pudgy 25-year-old with wire-rim glasses who was booked after the murder. "And 35 years later I see what a horrible decision that was and how selfish it was," he added, according to a transcript. Lennon was gunned down as he returned to his home on Manhattan's Upper West Side on Dec. 8, 1980, after a nighttime recording session. Chapman was waiting for him outside and shot him four times in front of his wife Yoko Ono. Ono, 85, has steadfastly opposed parole for her husband’s killer, who she previously has said poses a risk to her, Lennon’s two sons, the public, and himself. “While no one person's life is any more valuable than another's life, the fact that you chose someone who was not only a world-renowned person and beloved by millions, regardless of the pain and suffering you would cause to his family, friends, and so many others, you demonstrated a callous disregard for the sanctity of human life and the pain and suffering of others,” wrote the parole board, according to the Independent. The British newspaper reported that in their decision to deny Chapman parole, members of the panel said that releasing him would not only "tend to mitigate the seriousness of your crime," but also posed a threat to public safety because someone might try to attack him out of revenge. Chapman said at previous hearings that he still receives letters from people who are upset about what he did. Known as inmate 81A3860, Chapman has been held at the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, New York, just east of Buffalo, since 2012 when he was transferred from Attica, about 15 miles away. Reuters contributed to this report.