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Mark David Chapman

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Mark David Chapman in 1980

Mark David Chapman (born May 10, 1955 in Fort Worth, Texas) was an American who murdered former Beatle John Lennon in 1980. Chapman was, at various points in his life, a drug addict, a born-again Christian, and a hospitalized mental patient. At one time he attended Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, near the border of Georgia and Tennessee. He viewed the novel The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, as having great personal significance for him, to the point that he wanted to model his life after the book's antisocial protagonist Holden Caulfield.

Chapman had been a fan of the Beatles, and Lennon in particular, for years. Following his nervous breakdown as a college student, however, he became obsessed with Lennon to such an extreme that he married a Japanese woman because she reminded him of Lennon's wife Yoko Ono. As Chapman's life deteriorated, he began to resent his former hero, condemning him as a "phoney" (Caulfield's favorite insult.)

On the night of December 8, 1980, Chapman shot and killed John Lennon in front of Lennon's residence, the Dakota, at the corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West in Manhattan in New York City. Chapman had a copy of The Catcher in the Rye with him at the time.

Earlier in the day, Chapman had shaken hands with Lennon and had asked him to autograph his newly-purchased copy of his new album Double Fantasy. Lennon autographed Chapman's album for him. After this encounter, Chapman waited near the Dakota for several hours for Lennon to return, whereupon he shot at him five times, inflicting four wounds.

He has testified that he also travelled to New York to kill Lennon once before, but did not go through with it.

Chapman was charged with second degree murder and was found competent to stand trial. It was expected that he would plead insanity; instead, he lodged a guilty plea.

He is currently imprisoned at Attica State Prison, near Buffalo, New York. He has been denied parole three times, in 2000, 2002, and October 2004. Prior to his parole hearings there had been several threats made on his life should he be released.

External link

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