ALBANY, N.Y. – John Lennon's killer is hoping that a state parole board gives freedom a chance. Mark David Chapman is scheduled to appear before a parole panel the week of Aug. 20.
For Chapman, it will be the 10th time that he has been eligible for parole. But this year, the Parole Board has been more willing to place heavier emphasis on an inmate's behavior behind bars than simply focus on the severity of the crime. Several notorious murderers who had long been denied parole were set free in recent months.
In the past, the Parole Board — even while citing Chapman's clean prison record since 1994 — has cited "the premeditated and celebrity-seeking nature of the crime" and said that releasing him would "undermine respect for the law."
Chapman, 63, shot Lennon on Dec. 8, 1980, as the famed ex-Beatle and wife Yoko Ono returned home after a late-night recording session.
Sentenced to 20 years to life in prison, Chapman is incarcerated at upstate Wende Correctional Facility.
In past parole hearings, Chapman has claimed to have found Jesus while behind bars.
Even while denying him his release in 2016, the last time he came up for parole, the panel members commended Chapman for "your acceptance of responsibility and vivid characterization of your crime as premeditated, selfish and evil."
The board also said it considered his "network of support and release plan" and his record and behavior behind bars, but ultimately kept him locked up.
Chapman has said he targeted Lennon because of his fame and a twisted belief that the rocker was a phony for living an elite lifestyle.
He is kept in protective custody and works as an administrative clerk. He also is registered in the prison system's "family reunion" program, which allows him conjugal visits with his wife, Gloria Hiroko Chapman, who married him 18 months before the murder.
Chapman in previous parole hearings said he's willing to pay for his crime in prison "however long it takes, forever."
Ono has sent a letter every time Chapman has gone before the board asking that he be kept locked up not only for the safety of her and the slain Beatle's two sons, but also for Chapman's, who she said could be at risk of harm from Lennon fans.