Mark Chapman: why did he kill Beatles star John Lennon, who is his wife - and is he still in jail now?

Chapman’s wife Gloria has stood by him since he shot Lennon four times

John Lennon was murdered outside his New York apartment four decades ago.

The 40-year-old music icon had just returned from the studio, with his wife Yoko Ono, before he was shot.

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The man who committed the callous crime in 1980, Mark Chapman, was only 25 at the time.

John Lennon was shot four times by Mark Chapman, who was a Beatles fan (Getty)John Lennon was shot four times by Mark Chapman, who was a Beatles fan (Getty)
John Lennon was shot four times by Mark Chapman, who was a Beatles fan (Getty)

So, who exactly was John Lennon’s killer - and where is he now?

Who killed John Lennon?

Beatles frontman John Lennon was walking back from Record Plant Studio into his apartment building in New York City, The Dakota, when he was killed on 8 December, 1980.

Mark Chapman, a huge fan of Lennon’s, used a .38 caliber gun to shoot the music icon four times.

He stayed on the scene and was found reading J. D. Salinger’s famous book, The Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist of which is a disillusioned teenager.

Only six hours before he died, Lennon had met Chapman and signed a copy of the album Double Fantasy for him.

Lennon was pronounced dead when he arrived at the Roosevelt Hospital.

Chapman pleaded guilty to his crime and was sentenced to life in prison.

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Why did Chapman kill him?

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Mark Chapman, who is said to be deeply religious, was a huge Beatles fan who greatly admired John Lennon.

However, his idolisation turned sour after John Lennon made an infamous comment in 1966 that his band were “more popular than Jesus”.

Chapman is reported to have planned to kill the musician three months before he carried out the crime.

Recently, during his 2020 hearing, Chapman said he killed Lennon for “self-glory”.

He called his act “despicable” and said he deserved the death penalty.

He also told the parole board at his correctional facility in New York that he was “sorry”.

In his explanation, he said: "I have no excuse. This was for self-glory. I think it's the worst crime that there could be to do something to someone that's innocent.

"He was extremely famous. I didn't kill him because of his character or the kind of man he was. He was a family man. He was an icon.

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"He was someone that spoke of things that now we can speak of and it's great.

"I assassinated him, to use your word earlier 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."

Where is Chapman now?

John Lennon’s murderer is currently serving his life prison sentence at the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, New York.

Now 65 years old, Chapman has remained in prison since he committed the crime.

He is a clerk and a porter within a restricted block of the prison, where he was moved for his own safety in case he was attacked by another inmate.

Chapman has repeatedly been denied parole, as Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono has campaigned to keep him inside based on the claim that he would endanger her and her and Lennon’s sons.

In August 2020 he was denied parole for the 11th time.

As he has been denied parole so many times, it is now unlikely that Chapman will ever be released, with the parole board citing his mental stability as a reason.

Is Chapman married?

Gloria Chapman, the criminal’s wife, has stood by him since he committed the heinous act.

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She has previously claimed that her husband informed her of his plan to kill Lennon two months before he did.

A matter of weeks later, angered by Lennon’s remark about Jesus, Chapman traveled from their home in Hawaii to New York to carry out the murder.

When news of the crime broke, Gloria has said she knew immediately that her husband was the killer.

Although she was urged to divorce Chapman by friends after he was found guilty, she decided to stay true to her marriage due to her “faith”.

Gloria now lives near the correctional facility where Chapman has been placed for eight years.

The couple are allowed to spend 44 hours a year together, including intimate time, while Chapman is in prison.

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