Lennon's killer Chapman denied parole because of his 'extreme malicious intent'

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The Independent US

John Lennon's murderer, Mark Chapman, was denied parole yesterday, 24 years after he was convicted of killing the former Beatle.

John Lennon's murderer, Mark Chapman, was denied parole yesterday, 24 years after he was convicted of killing the former Beatle.

Chapman was told he must remain in jail because of the "extreme malicious intent" of his crime. The New York State Division of Parole also told Chapman that he had subjected Lennon's widow Yoko Ono to "monumental suffering". His release would "significantly undermine respect for the law".

Chapman shot Lennon as he returned to his New York apartment with Ono in 1980.

In a notification to Chapman, the Division of Parole said: "Following a personal interview, a review of your records and deliberation, your release to parole supervision at this time is denied.

"This is based on the extreme malicious intent you exhibited during the instant offence where you fired a handgun multiple times striking your target - John Lennon. Your course of conduct over a lengthy period of time shows a clear lack of respect for life and subjected the wife of the victim to monumental suffering by her witnessing the crime."

It went on: "During the interview, your statements for motivation acknowledge the attention you felt this murder would generate. Although proven true, such rationale is bizarre and morally corrupt."

The statement said Chapman's "positive disciplinary record" in jail had been taken into account. But it concluded: "To release you on parole at this time would significantly undermine respect for the law."

The decision means Chapman will serve another two years before he is eligible for parole again.

Ono was understood to have written to the parole board to oppose Chapman's release.

Chapman had also faced death threats from fans, who vowed to avenge Lennon's murder. He is being housed in a separate unit in the prison in Attica, in New York state, amid fears that he might be killed by another inmate.

Earlier, Lennon's sister Julia Baird said she believed Chapman would be killed if he were freed. She said her family was asked for their views before a previous parole hearing for Chapman. "After Chapman had been in jail for 20 years all of John's family were invited by the parole board to air our views," she said. "We all wrote, including Yoko, and gave them the reasons why we thought he should not be released."

She went on: "Nobody has asked me to comment upon his latest parole hearing.

"He has served almost 25 years and it is up to the law to decide what to do with him.

"But the law must take the consequences if they choose to release him because I have no doubt that somebody will try to kill him."

She added: "It has to be the law that deals with him, it is up to the law, not me."