October 4, 2000 10:44


[b]Mark Chapman[/b] will serve at least two more years in prison...

MARK CHAPMAN, the man who murdered THE BEATLES' vocalist John Lennon, will serve at least two more years in prison after his application for parole was refused yesterday (October 3).

Chapman was up for parole after serving 20 years for the murder of Lennon on December 8, 1980. The singer was shot three times in the stomach outside his New York apartment. Local state law specifies that after 20 years behind bars, prisoners come up for parole automatically, and this was Chapman's first hearing.

According to US reports, the parole board met for approximately 50 minutes inside the Attica prison in New York state where Chapman has been serving his sentence. Within four hours, Chapman had been given a statement which told him that his parole had been denied.

The reports reveal the statement told Chapman that the board "strongly believes that your release to parole supervision at this time would deprecate the seriousness of the crime and serve to undermine respect for the law.

"You had planned this crime for a protracted period of time and it is apparent that you were obsessed in causing fatal harm to John Lennon... your most vicious and violent act was apparently fuelled by your need to be acknowledged."

The denial of parole will obviously come as a major blow to Chapman, who is now reportedly a Born Again Christian. Speaking in newspaper interviews prior to his hearing, he claimed he would use his freedom to spread the word of God.

As reported last Monday (October 2), Lennon's widow Yoko Ono wrote a letter to the parole board requesting Chapman remained behind bars. In today's Sun newspaper (October 4), a transcript of the letter is published, in which Ono describes Lennon as "the other half of the sky", adding that if Chapman was released, "myself and John's two sons would not feel safe for the rest of our lives".

Chapman can reapply for parole in 2002.

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