Japanese musician Yoko Ono, now 77, is still fighting to keep Mark David Chapman behind bars, nearly 30 years after the loner opened fire on John Lennon, killing the Beatles legend in a shooting outside the couple’s posh Manhattan apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980.
Chapman, who has spent the past three decades locked up in New York’s gritty Attica State Prison, is up for parole next month. He’ll be interviewed by a three-member parole board panel during the week of Aug. 9. It is his sixth bid for release.
Ono’s lawyer Peter Shukat says that Lennon’s widow — who witnessed the shooting — continues to oppose Chapman’s potential release and has again sent a letter to the parole board.
He refused to say whether it’s the same letter submitted every two years since Chapman first became eligible for parole in 2000. In that letter, Ono writes that if Chapman is released: “I am afraid it will bring back the nightmare, the chaos and confusion once again. Myself and John’s two sons would not feel safe for the rest of our lives.”
Robert Gangi, head of the prisoners’ rights group, Correctional Association of America, doubts Chapman will be released because of the public outrage it would cause.
“Given that he commited a high profile crime and he killed one of the most famous and most beloved figures literally in the world, it’s highly unlikely three parole commissioners would vote to grant him release,” said Gangi.