Chapman entered a guilty plea to second degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. He has faced parole hearings 11 times, and was denied parole each time. At his most recent parole hearing in August, he said he killed Lennon for fame and said he deserves the death penalty, according to Syracuse.com.
A special episode of ABC 20/20 is airing shortly after Lennon’s birthday and as the anniversary of his murder draws near. Lennon would have turned 80 on October 9, 1940. The episode, “John Lennon: His Life, Legacy, Last Days” airs Friday, October 16, 2020 at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
Here’s what you need to know:
Chapman Said ‘I Just Shot John Lennon’ & Smirked After Shooting Him Four Times
The details of John Lennon’s shocking murder were detailed in a December 10, 1980 Washington Post article called, “I Just Shot John Lennon,’ He Said Coolly.” A few hours before the murder, Chapman asked Lennon to sign a copy of his album, “Double Fantasy.” Later, as Lennon and Yoko Ono were returning home, Chapman called out to Lennon, saying “Mr. Lennon,” before crouching and shooting him four times with a .38-caliber pistol.
Lennon stumbled into the vestibule. His doorman was covered with blood.
“Do you know what you just did?” the doorman shouted at Chapman, according to the Post.
“I just shot John Lennon,” Chapman replied.
Witnesses said he had a smirk on his face.
Chapman remained on the scene and took out “The Catcher and the Rye.”
He spoke about his behavior at a 2016 parole hearing.
“That’s a true sociopathic mind,” Chapman said at his parole hearing in 2016, according to the Liverpool Echo. “I will say this: Towards the end, I would say the last hour or so, I did talk to myself. I sent up a prayer and said please help me turn this around. I couldn’t do it… I couldn’t do it.”
He was an unemployed security guard at the time of the murder, and had no previous criminal record.
Chapman also spoke to Larry King about the murder in an interview. He said he thought it was odd that Lennon asked him if he wanted anything else after autographing the album.
“He’s given me the autograph. I don’t have a camera on me. What could I give him?” Chapman told King on CNN.
After that, he said he stood around “like an idiot” for hours, waiting for him to come back, skipping dinner and planning to shoot Lennon.
John Lennon Would Have Turned 80 on October 9, 2020
Lennon’s 80th birthday was on October 9, 2020, and he would have been 80 years old if he was still alive today.
Paul McCartney also wrote about his longtime bandmates birthday, sharing a photo of them together on Twitter.
“I love this picture, it reminds me of the bond between us. Happy 80th John. Love Paul,” he wrote.
The Empire State Building celebrated Lennon’s birthday by illuminating it with a sky blue color and a peace sign.
“They say it’s your birthday…” the Empire State Building wrote on its Facebook page. “We’re joining Universal Music Group & Sean Lennon in honoring the 80th birthday of musical legend & The Beatles member John Lennon by shining sky blue with a peace sign in our mast tonight. Our lights also celebrate the ‘Gimme Some Truth’ Album Release!”