Mark David Chapman, the man convicted of killing John Lennon in 1980, has been denied parole for a third time by the New York State Division of Parole.
In its statement to Chapman on Tuesday, the Division of Parole explained that the decision was "based on the extreme malicious intent you exhibited during the instant offense where you fired a handgun multiple times, striking your target — John Lennon."
Chapman, 49, shot and killed Lennon as the former Beatle was returning to his New York apartment on December 8, 1980. He is serving a prison sentence of 20 years to life at the Attica Correctional Facility near Buffalo, New York, and had been denied parole twice previously, in 2000 and 2002. Chapman is next eligible for a parole hearing in 2006.
In his 29-minute hearing, Chapman explained that he was motivated to shoot Lennon because of "the attention this murder would generate." The Division of Parole wrote that "although proven true, such rationale is bizarre and morally corrupt.
"Following a personal interview, a review of your records, and deliberation, your release to parole supervision at this time is denied," the statement continued. "To release you on parole ... would significantly undermine respect for the law."
Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, sent a letter to the Division of Parole saying that she remains afraid for her own safety and that of Sean and Julian, Lennon's children. An online petition opposing Chapman's parole, organized by Lennon's fans, gathered more than 3,000 signatures.