A&E is airing a new documentary entitled John and Yoko: Above Us Only Sky, about the making of their 1971 “Imagine” album. The Beatles star and his wife were married from 1969 until 1980, when he was shot and killed unexpectedly.
John Lennon was shot dead outside of his apartment in New York City on December 8, 1980 by Mark David Chapman. Lennon was 40 years old, and he and wife Yoko Ono moved to the Dakota Building on the upper west side to raise their son Sean. Several hours before Chapman shot and killed Lennon, he approached him outside of the apartment building to have his copy of the couple’s new album, Double Fantasy, signed.
According to The Guardian, Chapman was up for parole for the 10th time last August, but his release was denied. He is serving a 20-to-life sentence at the Wende correctional facility. During his parole board hearing, he revealed that he struggled with whether or not to go through with murdering Lennon, saying “I was too far in. I do remember having the thought of, ‘Hey, you have got the album now. Look at this, he signed it, just go home.’ But there was no way I was just going to go home.”
The Guardian says that he has previously said that his reason for killing Lennon was a desire for notoriety and that he made sure that he was shooting Lennon to kill him. At the August hearing, he said “Thirty years ago I couldn’t say I felt shame and I know what shame is now. It’s where you cover your face, you don’t want to, you know, ask for anything.”
Sports announcer Howard Cosell shared the news of Lennon’s murder during a Monday Night NFL game between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots. Cosell said “We have to remember this is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City. John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the west side of New York City, the most famous perhaps of all of The Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to the Roosevelt Hospital, dead on arrival. Hard to go back to the game after that news flash.”
According to InsideEdition.com, NYPD Officer Peter Cullen told Chapman “You just threw your whole life away” after he arrived at the scene of the crime. Cullen also said that, at the time, “When we got the call, we thought it was fireworks and not gunshots because it was also Chinese New Year.” Lennon still had a pulse when the responders arrived, but was bleeding from the mouth and chest.
Tune in to John and Yoko: Above Us Only Sky on A&E, Monday March 11 at 9/8c.