John Lennon’s murderer wants to spread the word of God after 40 years in pre-trial detention

John Lennon’s killer remains in preventive custody – nearly 40 years to the day since he took down the Beatles legend.

Mark Chapman has been constantly kept in the midst of fear of being murdered by a fame-seeking fellow inmate.

His dream of becoming a preacher if he is ever released could also put him in danger, it is claimed.

Author Jack Jones – who knows Chapman best – said last night: “If Mark is released he won’t be able to resist the urge to stand in a pulpit or in a public place and sit down. make the target of someone who wants to be known as the guy who killed the guy.

John Lennon, pictured in August 1980, just months before he was shot outside his home
(Image: Getty)

“He is aware of it, but he might think it is a risk he must have taken because it is his mission from God.

“That’s about all he’s seeing right now. Call it a fantasy or a belief and a spiritual mission, if you will.

“And he is still in preventive detention because there are people in prison who are there for several murders and who would kill him just for recognition.

Chapman was 25 when he used a .38 caliber rifle to shoot 40-year-old Lennon four times on December 8, 1980.

The Beatles star was entering Dakota – his New York apartment building – with his wife Yoko Ono when he was murdered.

Chapman remained calm on stage as he read The Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger’s novel about a confused and disillusioned 16-year-old.

Six hours before his death, Lennon had signed a copy of the Double Fantasy album for Chapman – and a photo of them together later appeared on the front pages of the newspapers.

Yoko Ono is helped by David Geffen as she leaves the hospital after the death of her husband John
(Image: Getty)

Chapman was a Beatles fan who idolized Lennon. But after finding God, he was angered by the singer’s 1966 comment that the band was “more popular than Jesus.”

Chapman was sentenced to 20 years in life for the murder and was denied parole 11 times.

Directors of the maximum security Wende Correctional Center in Alden, New York, often refer to him simply as prisoner 81A2860.

At a hearing in August this year, Chapman admitted to killing Lennon for “glory”, and said: “I think it is the worst crime that can exist, doing something to someone who is innocent. .

“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. ”

Author Jones believes Chapman later felt a sense of accomplishment.

Mark David Chapman, photographed in December 1980
(Image: PA)

He said: “As horrible as it was, there was still something in his mind that said he had succeeded.

“I mean, ‘Wow, mom, look what I’ve done, people are paying attention to me now,’ and it doesn’t matter whether people say her name with horror or adoration.

Chapman spends his days locked in a 6 foot by 8 foot cell, playing the guitar and singing. His loyal wife Gloria sometimes visits him and they are allowed to spend some intimate time in a trailer.

The killer’s infatuation with Lennon has become an obsession with God, and he spends his days writing religious brochures that Gloria shares with her church.

Jones met Chapman in the early 1980s when he was a journalist and attending counseling sessions at Attica State Prison.

An associate recommended him to Chapman as someone the killer could talk to.

Mark David Chapman is escorted by police the day after the murder
(Image: Getty)

Jones promised not to print their conversations and Chapman began to trust him.

He even let the writer write the 1993 book, Let Me Take You Down: Inside the Mind of Mark David Chapman.

The couple have kept in touch and conducted a new interview for an upcoming Sky documentary.

Jones said Chapman’s new obsession is spreading the word of God.

Mark David Chapman, photographed in 2003
(Image: Bureau of Prisons / Getty)

He said, “I think he has these kinds of compulsive and obsessive habits. I don’t think they would show up in the murder act again.

“Mark is part of the evangelical movement, although withdrawn. His wife publishes a nuns news flyer to members of their small church.

Gloria has previously recounted how Chapman admitted to wanting to kill Lennon two months before the shooting.

New York newspaper Daily News headlines tell more about Chapman’s crime
(Image: Getty)

She told the Mirror: “He came home scared, telling me that in order to make a name for himself he was planning to kill Lennon.

“But he said my love had saved him. ”

Gloria later had no doubts about responsibility when news of Lennon’s death aired on television.

Yoko Ono, now 87, campaigned to keep Chapman behind bars, fearing he might pose a risk to his family.

The hearse carrying the body of John Lennon killed outside the Frank E. Campbell funeral home
(Image: Getty)

With so many parole denials, it seems unlikely that Chapman will ever be released. The most compelling argument for keeping Chapman in jail is his mental stability and the fear that his compulsions might return.

Jones believes Chapman is serving a longer sentence because of who he killed.

The 2018 parole board called Lennon “a person of world renown … loved by millions.”

Jones said: “If he had killed someone like you or me, he would have been released at least 25 years ago for good behavior in New York State.

The .38 caliber handgun used by Mark David Chapman to kill John Lennon
(Image: Reuters)

“But because of who he killed, he’s still in prison 40 years later.

“He lives his life in a cell with a toilet and I think he might have the convenience of a little electric pot to boil water for tea and things like that.

“He has a guitar and is actually a very good singer and guitarist.”

Mark Chapman holds a copy of JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye at a Manhattan Criminal Court hearing – the same book he had when he killed Lennon
(Image: Bettmann)

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And explaining why he wrote a book on Chapman, Jones said, “My main reason was the hope that it would bring a clearer understanding to people who might be able to avoid future tragedies.

“Mark and I have both received letters from people who after reading the book said they considered a similar crime, but decided not to after reading my book, so this is the main thing to do. which I feel good about.

“You know the next Mark Chapman is out there somewhere if we don’t do everything we can to figure them out, find them and stop them right now.

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