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Lennon killer wants to live with minister if freed
Question of the Day
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The man who killed ex-Beatle John Lennon said in his most recent parole bid that he hoped to live and work with an upstate New York minister if released, according to a hearing transcript released Wednesday.
Mark David Chapman, 57, was denied parole last week for the seventh time. He can try again in two years.
Chapman shot Lennon in December 1980 outside the Manhattan apartment building where the former Beatle lived. He was sentenced in 1981 to 20 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
Chapman, who said his motivation for killing Lennon was instant notoriety, also told the parole board he was surprised more celebrities haven't been the targets of violence and said he has thought about someone trying to kill him as a way to gain fame as the person who avenged Lennon.
"To do something like that against another person, it's something that would keep me alive and boost me," he said. "That's ludicrous and I'm actually glad that that's not done more. I thought maybe more people would do that and I'm glad that they have not. I'm surprised that they have not because this society is just geared toward celebrity like crazy."
Chapman, who has said he considered killing several other celebrities, told the parole board he wanted Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, to know that he felt no anger toward Lennon.
"It wasn't anything against her husband as a person, only as a famous person," he said. "If he was less famous than three or four other people on the list, he would not have been shot. And that's the truth."
During an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, Ono and the couple's son were reluctant to talk about Chapman or his latest parole denial.
"It's not the kind of thing you can really answer simply. I mean, it's complicated," Sean Lennon said. "But let's just say that our lives were changed forever by that, so it's a sensitive sort of thing."
"Especially for Sean," Ono added. "Because Sean was so close to John and suddenly John was gone."
Chapman, a former security guard from Hawaii, said during an Aug. 22 parole hearing that he's been offered lodging and a farm job by Stanley Thurber in Medina, a village between Rochester and Buffalo.
"He's a minister and he's an older fellow and he has a lot of contacts in the area and he has agreed to refurbish his upstairs apartment for me and offered me two jobs," Chapman told the parole board.
He said his wife, Gloria Hiroko Chapman, met Thurber at a church function and was "impressed by his deep commitment to Christ." After corresponding with Thurber, Chapman said, they met for the first time on Aug. 20.
A message left Wednesday at a phone number listed for Thurber was not immediately returned.
During the hearing, Chapman again expressed remorse for the killing, spoke of his Christian faith and talked about his routine at the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo, where he was moved in May and placed in "involuntary protective custody."
"I've been in my cell, basically, writing letters, reading, thinking," Chapman said. He was locked up previously at Attica, where he worked in the prison law library. He said he didn't know why he'd been moved.
The parole board noted Chapman's positive efforts while in prison but said releasing him would "trivialize the tragic loss of life which you caused with this heinous, unprovoked, violent, cold and calculated crime."
Associated Press Writer Alex Katz in New York City contributed to this report.
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