Mark David Chapman Almost Killed John Lennon Two Months Earlier
Dec. 8, 1980 is burned into the minds of Beatles fans as the day that John Lennon was murdered. But in a new interview with his killer's wife, there was a possibility that Mark David Chapman came close to committing the act on a previous trip to New York from their home in Hawaii.
The U.K. tabloid the Mirror is quoting an interview Gloria Hiroko Chapman did with the Alliance, a "Christian-centered global movement," where she said, "Two months earlier, Mark had travelled to New York. He came home scared, telling me that to make a name for himself he had planned to kill Lennon. But he said my love had saved him.”
He told her that he "needed to grow up as an adult and husband, and needed time to think about his life" and that he threw his gun into the ocean, which convinced her to allow him to return to New York for that fateful trip. Gloria recalled how, upon hearing the news, she knew her husband, to whom she had been married for 18 months, had lied to her.
“December 8, 1980, was one of the darkest nights of my life," she continued. "I remember it was a Monday. I had come home from work, fixed dinner, and was watching Little House on the Prairie. On the show, Mary had just found out she’d become blind when suddenly, words ran across the bottom of the screen: ‘John Lennon has been shot in New York City by a male Caucasian.’ My life changed dramatically that night. I was now Mrs. Mark David Chapman, the wife of a murderer and not just any murderer but one whose victim was known and loved by millions around the world.”
After pleading guilty, he was sentenced to 20 years to life, serving the first 31 years at New York's Attica Correctional Facility before being transferred to the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, N.Y., in 2012. The couple have remained married throughout his incarceration because her religious beliefs prevent her from getting a divorce. She is allowed to spend 44 hours in conjugal visits a year with him.
As has been the case every other year since 2000, Chapman is up for parole, with his next hearing scheduled to take place the week of Aug. 20.