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Man Who Killed John Lennon Said He Did It For 'Self-Glory, Period'

Mark David Chapman was denied parole for the 11th time last month.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt
Mark David Chapman John Lennon G

The man convicted of killing Beatles icon John Lennon reportedly did so because he wanted "self-glory."

Mark David Chapman, who is now 65, was sentenced in 1981 to 20 years to life in prison for Lennon’s murder. Chapman fatally shot Lennon as he and wife Yoko Ono were walking into their New York City building on December 8, 1980.

Chapman attended a parole hearing last month, where he was denied release for the 11th time, ABC News reports. Part of the reason for that denial was Chapman’s remarks on his crime; he admitted that he killed the legendary singer for glory, according to a transcript of the hearing obtained by ABC News.

"It was just self-glory, period," Chapman said of his motivations. "It was nothing more than that. It boiled down to that. There's no excuses."

Chapman also said that he was “jealous” of Lennon at the time, and that he’d had a list of three other famous people who he wanted to kill if his attempt on Lennon’s life didn’t work out, the outlet reports. He said that he purchased the gun around three months before the murder, and then traveled from Hawaii to New York City.

"At the time my thinking was he has all of this money, lives in this beautiful apartment and he is into music representing a more cautious lifestyle, a more giving lifestyle," Chapman said. "It made me angry and jealous compared to the way I was living at the time. There was jealousy in there."

When Lennon was killed, he was 40 years old and enjoying post-Beatles success as a solo artist; he also worked frequently with his wife, Yoko Ono, with whom he shared a young son. His death devastated a generation and was a pivotal moment in music history.

During last month’s parole hearing, Chapman, who has had a parole hearing every two years since 2000, described what he did as a “despicable act” that was “pretty creepy,” The Telegraph, a UK outlet, reports. He also said during the August 19 hearing that he “deserves” the death penalty.

"When you knowingly plot someone's murder and know it's wrong and you do it for yourself, that's a death penalty right there in my opinion,” he said, according to the outlet. He reportedly later added, "If the law and you choose to leave me in here for the rest of my life, I have no complaint whatsoever."

He also offered an apology to Lennon’s widow, remarking, "I assassinated him... because he was very, very, very famous and that's the only reason and I was very, very, very, very much seeking self-glory, very selfish.”

"I want to add that and emphasize that greatly,” he continued. “It was an extremely selfish act. I'm sorry for the pain that I caused to her. I think about it all of the time."

Chapman’s parole was denied, partly due to his remarking "infamy brings glory” after one of the parole commissioners said that his definition of glory sounded like infamy, ABC News reports.

"During the interview you stated you committed this murder to seek glory. You said 'infamy brings you glory,'" the decision reads. "This panel finds your statement disturbing. Your actions represented an evil act. The fact that today, almost 40 years later, you can still speak of what you did as something that you felt was a positive and in your mind gave you 'glory' at the time, is disturbing for this panel."

Chapman has been incarcerated at the Wende Correctional Facility in New York for the past eight years, according to The Telegraph.

Ono — as well as Lennon’s sons, Sean and Julian — did not address Chapman’s hearing on social media, with Ono instead posting an announcement about an upcoming event to honor what would have been Lennon’s 80th birthday.

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