Date: 5th September 2000
JOHN LENNON's killer MARK CHAPMAN is hoping to be a free man by Christmas (00) thanks to his conversion to Christianity. Chapman faces his first parole hearing next month (OCT), 20 years after he gunned down the one-time BEATLES star outside his Dakota apartment in New York. Prison authorities now consider Chapman to be a model inmate, and he believes he stands a good chance of tasting freedom before the end of the year.
Chapman has set up a small publishing operation with his wife GLORIA, whom he wed before the killing, and prints out evangelical tracts for distribution around the country. He also gives sermons over the jail's closed-circuit television system to other prisoners - delivering the message that crime doesn't pay. Chapman intends to argue that his devotion to religion means he is no longer a threat to others and deserves a second chance.
But the parole bid will be strongly opposed by Lennon's widow
YOKO ONO, who fears for Lennon's sons, SEAN and JULIAN, if Chapman was to be released. She says, "I am concerned for my safety as well, and the safety of many of our friends who are also in the limelight." Under American law Yoko will be able to make an "impact statement" to the parole board giving details on how the killing affected Lennon's relatives.