State moves Chapman, Lennon’s killer, to Wende

AP File Photo

The killer of former Beatle John Lennon was transferred Tuesday from the Attica Correctional Facility to the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, another of the state’s maximum-security correctional facilities.

Mark David Chapman, 57, who had been an Attica inmate for 31 years, was placed in the protective custody unit at Wende, said Peter Cutler, spokesman for the state’s combined prison and parole system.

Cutler said the prison system “doesn’t disclose the specific reasons why an inmate may be transferred” to a new facility. But he stressed that it was unusual for a transfer to take place after such a lengthy stay in one facility.

A onetime maintenance man in Hawaii, Chapman received a sentence of 20 years to life on his second-degree murder plea after he shot at Lennon five times Dec. 8, 1980, outside the Dakota, the Manhattan apartment building where the former Beatle lived. Four of the shots struck Lennon.

Chapman was placed in the state prison system Aug. 25, 1981, spending a short time at the Sing Sing facility before being transferred to Attica.

Attica and Wende are two of 60 state prisons considered maximum-security facilities.

Chapman was denied parole for the sixth time by the State Parole Board in September 2010. He becomes eligible again for parole in August.

In his 2008 parole hearing, Chapman said he was ashamed and sorry for what he had done, and he said he has developed a deeper understanding of the value of a human life. He said he shot the singer as he sought notoriety to counter his feelings of failure.

The Parole Board wrote to Lennon’s killer after the last parole hearing that it remained concerned about “the disregard you displayed for the norms of our society and the sanctity of human life when, after careful planning, you traveled to New York for the sole purpose of killing John Lennon.”

The panel said “release remains inappropriate at this time and incompatible with the welfare of the community.”

Two years ago, Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow, renewed her objections to his parole. She is also expected to protest in August. She has said she believes Chapman is a potential threat to her family and perhaps to himself. Lennon would have turned 71 in October.