Lennon's killer expresses belated remorse for shooting former Beatle

20 Aug

John Lennon’s killer told his latest parole board hearing that he’s ashamed and sorry for shooting the former Beatle nearly three decades ago, according to a transcript released Tuesday.

Mark David Chapman was again denied release immediately after his fifth hearing before the parole board on Aug. 12.

In its brief decision, the two-member panel turned down his request “due to concern for the public safety and welfare.”

Chapman, 53, told the board that, over the years, he has come to realize the gravity of what he did, and how it affected not only Lennon, but his wife, children and anybody who knew him.

“I recognized that that 25-year-old man, I don’t think he really appreciated the life that he was taking, that this was a human being,” he said. “I feel now at 53 I have grown into a deeper understanding of what a human life is. I have changed a lot.”

As he has in the past, Chapman told the parole board that he was seeking notoriety and fame to counter feelings of failure when he decided to kill Lennon.

“I would be something other than a nobody, and that was my reasoning at the time,” Chapman said.

Chapman, a maintenance man from Hawaii, fired five shots outside Lennon’s Manhattan apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980, hitting Lennon four times in front of his wife Yoko Ono and others.

He was sentenced to 20 years to life after pleading guilty to murder and has been in prison for 28 years.

A parole official said 1,100 people signed a petition opposing his release, while three wrote urging he be set free.

Chapman’s next appearance before the board is scheduled for August 2010.

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