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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 October, 2004, 08:01 GMT 09:01 UK
John Lennon killer denied parole
Mark Chapman
Chapman claims voices in his head told him to kill Lennon
John Lennon's killer, Mark Chapman, will stay in prison after a parole board in New York refused his release.

The board said Tuesday's decision was based on the "extreme malicious intent" Chapman had shown in shooting the former Beatle in Manhattan in 1980.

It is the third time Chapman, 49, has tried and failed to secure his freedom.

The board told Chapman he had "a clear lack of respect for life" and subjected Lennon's widow Yoko Ono to "monumental suffering by her witnessing the crime".

The decision to keep him behind bars was based on an interview, a review of records and deliberation, the board said.

To release you on parole at this time would significantly undermine respect for the law
Parole board

"During the interview, your statements for motivation acknowledges the attention you felt this murder would generate," they told him.

"Although proven true, such rationale is bizarre and morally corrupt."

The statement said Chapman's "positive disciplinary record" in jail was taken into account.

But it added: "To release you on parole at this time would significantly undermine respect for the law."

His previous applications for parole - in 2000, when he first became eligible after serving 20 years, and in 2002 - were also turned down.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1980
Yoko Ono was with Lennon when he was shot outside their home
Ono wrote to the board opposing the release, saying Chapman remained a threat to her and Lennon's sons, Sean and Julian.

She said Chapman's release would "bring back the nightmare, the chaos and the confusion once again".

Ono was with the musician when he was assassinated outside their apartment in the Dakota Building, New York on 8 December 1980.

Lennon had signed a copy of his Double Fantasy LP for Chapman earlier that day, before leaving for a recording studio - but the killer struck on the star's return home.

Chapman claimed voices in his head urged him to shoot, and he fired into Lennon's back.

He has said: "I felt like nothing, and I felt if I shot him I would become something - which is not true at all."

Maximum security

Chapman claimed his mental instabilities had cleared within seven or eight years of killing the musician.

Throughout his sentence, Chapman has been held at a separate facility in a maximum security prison in Attica, in New York state.

He further enraged Lennon fans in 2000, when he said he thought the musician would want him to be free.

"I think he would be liberal, I think he would care," he said.

Before Tuesday's decision, John Lennon's sister, Julia Baird, also spoke out against Chapman's release - but said she had not been consulted by the parole board.

She said she had no doubt that "somebody will try to kill him" if he was released.

Lennon fans have threatened revenge should he be released

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28 Nov 03  |  Entertainment
Lennon killer loses parole bid
09 Oct 02  |  Entertainment



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