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The John Lennon Murder

On December 8, 1980, former Beatle John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono did what the vast majority of people in the world do on a daily basis-they went home after a day of work. However, John Lennon would never set foot in his apartment again, on that night or any other.

Before the days of high-profile obsessed fans such as John Hinckley, Jr. and Robert John Bardo, celebrities were not as security-conscious as they could have, or perhaps should have, been. Lennonís fans were a frequent sight outside the Dakota building in New York City, where he and Ono lived. He would often sign autographs for these fans, most of whom meant him no harm.

But one fan for whom Lennon signed a record album that day had different plans for his next encounter with the star. Mark David Chapman, age 25, had made a trip to New York City two months earlier with the same intentions, but aborted his mission and returned home to Hawaii. This time, however, Chapman would see his plan through. This time, he would kill John Lennon.

Armed with a .38 Special revolver loaded with hollow point bullets, Chapman lingered outside the Dakota after receiving his autograph. He later stated that he spent the next few hours debating with himself over whether to proceed or not. At approximately 10:50 PM, Lennon and Ono arrived home. After Lennon passed him, heading into the buildingís courtyard, Chapman fired 5 shots. Four of the shots struck Lennon, wounding him in the back and shoulder. One of the shots severed Lennonís left subclavian artery, an injury that could not be repaired. Lennon was pronounced dead less than an hour later.

Chapman offered no resistance to bystanders and made no attempt to flee the scene. He read The Catcher in the Rye until police arrived and did not resist arrest. Chapman, who claimed to identify greatly with Holden Caulfield, the main character in that novel, pleaded guilty to murder the following June and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

Lennonís final days and murder have been the subject of several books, including Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon by Robert Rosen, Who Killed John Lennon? by Fenton Bresler and Let Me Take You Down: Inside the Mind of Mark David Chapman, the Man who Killed John Lennon by Jack Jones. Recent movies on the case include Chapter 27, starring Jared Leto as Chapman, and The Killing of John Lennon, starring Jonas Ball in the same role.

Thirty years after Lennonís murder, Ono has become involved in many activist campaigns, including autism awareness, AIDS awareness and various exhibitions and events promoting peace. Lennonís ex-wife Cynthia and their son Julian unveiled a monument to Lennon on October 9, 2010, what would have been his 70th birthday. Julian is a musician, with his sixth album due in 2011, and has appeared in several films. Sean, Lennon and Onoís son, is also a musician with several solo and collaborative efforts to his name. In 2010, he debuted the band The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger with fellow musician and girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl.

Lennonís killer Chapman first became eligible for parole in the year 2000, but was denied. He becomes eligible for parole again every two years and has been denied six times as of 2010. His seventh parole hearing is set to take place in 2012. Until then, he remains housed at Attica Correctional Facility in New York.

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