John Lennon's killer: 'If he was less famous, he would not have been shot'

Mark Chapman, as he appears today. Photo / AP
Mark Chapman, as he appears today. Photo / AP

John Lennon's killer claims he didn't target the Beatles singer.

The Imagine hitmaker was shot dead outside his New York apartment in December, 1980 by Mark Chapman but the gunman insists he only killed him because he was the most famous person he knew about.

Speaking during his seventh parole hearing earlier this month, Chapman told the New York State Board of Parole he committed the "cold-blooded" crime "simply because [Lennon was] the most famous person I knew of".

Speaking about Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, Chapman added: "I would like Mrs Lennon to really know that. I think it would help somewhat that it wasn't anger. It wasn't anything against her husband as a person, only as a famous person.

"If he was less famous than three or four other people on the list, he would not have been shot."

Chapman, 57, went on to reveal that he had a list of six or seven potential targets, including Johnny Carson, Dame Elizabeth Taylor and actor George C Scott.

Chapman - who had waited for the singer to return to his apartment building before shooting him in the back of the head - had contemplated abandoning his murder plot when earlier in the day he met the British musician, who had signed his album cover.

He said: "It wasn't all totally cold-blooded, but most of it was. I did try to tell myself to leave. 'I've got the album, take it home, show my wife, everything will be fine.'

"But I was so compelled to commit that murder that nothing would have dragged me away from that building."

Chapman pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life in August 1981, with the judge ruling that he must receive psychiatric treatment.

His most recent parole application was refused.

- Bang! Showbiz

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