Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stuck in Denial

Mark David Chapman killed the wrong man.

If it wasn't for the profile and status of his victim, Chapman might have a good shot at parole next month. Though we'll never know.

Chapman, of course, is the convicted killer of ex-Beatle John Lennon, who Chapman gunned down on December 8, 1980 in New York City.

Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life for the murder, and he has served 29 years of that sentence. He was last up for parole in 2008. He's been denied five times (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008).

Chapman is 55 and is incarcerated at the Attica Maximum Security facility.

But taking Lennon out of the equation for a moment, Chapman appears to be a pretty good prisoner, one who might be parole material.

He hasn't had an infraction since 1994, said Erik Kriss, spokesman for the Department of Corrections in New York.

"He goes about his business, doing his prison job and without any fanfare," Kriss said.

Chapman spends his time housekeeping and in the library, according to a CNN story.

For the past 20 years, Chapman has been allowed conjugal visits with his wife, Gloria, as part of a state program called "Family Reunion," which enables eligible prisoners to spend up to 44 hours at a time with their family members in a special, controlled setting.

According to the New York State Division of Parole, four letters have been submitted this year arguing against Chapman's parole, while two letters have been received in support.

Chapman circa 2008


Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, has submitted letters in prior years arguing against Chapman's parole. It's uncertain whether she's done so this year.

Unfortunately for Chapman, it's highly unlikely that he'll be granted parole, considering who he killed. The public outcry, even nearly 30 years after Lennon's murder, would be too great.

When Chapman was denied parole in 2008, the State Division of Parole released a statement that said the decision was "due to concern for the public safety and welfare."

I find it hard to believe that Chapman would harm anyone if he was released. But I could be wrong. Perhaps he'd latch onto another celebrity and begin stalking that person---who knows?

The bottom line is that if Chapman had killed Joe Citizen and was given the same sentence, his prison record and time served might make his parole realistic.

But Mark David Chapman killed John Lennon, beloved the world over.

Because of that, I don't think Chapman will ever see the world outside the walls of prison.

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time, right?

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