Here’s a look at the life of Mark David Chapman, who was convicted of murdering musician John Lennon.
Birth date: May 10, 1955
Birth place: Fort Worth, Texas
Birth name: Mark David Chapman
Father: David Chapman, former sergeant, US Air Force
Mother: Diane Chapman, nurse
Marriage: Gloria (Abe) Chapman (June 1979-present)
Education: Attended DeKalb Junior College and Covenant College in Georgia
As documented in the press, Chapman is known for an obsessive devotion to “The Catcher in the Rye,” J.D. Salinger’s novel about teenage alienation.
Suffers from depression and was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic by Dr. Bernard Diamond, a psychiatrist for the defense.
Started using drugs and skipping school his freshman year in high school. This behavior ended when he turned 16 and became a born-again Christian, as documented in the book, “Let Me Take You Down: Inside the Mind of Mark David Chapman, the Man Who Killed John Lennon,” by Jack Jones.
1971-1975 – Works on and off as a YMCA counselor.
1977 – Purchases a one-way ticket and flies to Hawaii. Attempts suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. Once recovered, Chapman takes a job at the hospital where he received treatment.
1978 – Embarks on an around-the-world trip.
1979 – Marries Gloria Abe, the travel agent who helped plan his around-the-world trip. Chapman then quits his job at the hospital and takes a job as a security guard.
1980 – Reads a book on Lennon and becomes enraged that Lennon has so much money.
October 23, 1980 – Quits his job as a security guard, signing himself out as “John Lennon.”
October 27, 1980 – Purchases a .38 caliber revolver.
October 30, 1980 – Flies to New York. He is unable to purchase bullets, so he flies to Atlanta to acquire them, then goes back to New York. His wife convinces him to return home to Hawaii.
December 6, 1980 – Returns to New York.
December 8, 1980 – Spends entire day outside the Dakota, the Central Park West apartment building in Manhattan where Lennon and his family live. Meets Lennon’s 5-year-old son, Sean, with his nanny and shakes hands with him. Encounters Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, as they are leaving their apartment. Lennon signs a copy of his recently released “Double Fantasy” album for Chapman. Chapman remains outside the Dakota until Lennon and Ono return home. Chapman shoots Lennon in the back four times with a .38 caliber revolver. Chapman makes no attempt to flee; he is disarmed by the doorman. When police arrive, Chapman is reading “The Catcher in the Rye,” by Salinger. Lennon is pronounced dead at Roosevelt Hospital.
December 9, 1980 – Chapman is arraigned on charges of second-degree murder. Following the arraignment, he is taken to Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric evaluation and placed under suicide watch.
June 22, 1981 – Chapman’s legal defense prepares to argue an insanity defense but Chapman pleads guilty saying that he received a message from God telling him to do so.
August 24, 1981 – Judge Dennis Edwards sentences Chapman to 20 years to life in prison and recommends Chapman undergo psychiatric treatment. Just prior to sentencing, Chapman reads a passage from “The Catcher in the Rye.”
2000-2020 – Denied parole 11 times.
Quoted from Various Sources
Published for: WATPFC