5 Things You Didn't Know About The Murder of John Lennon

On June 22, 1981, over the objections of his lawyer, Mark David Chapman pleaded guilty to the murder of John Lennon on what he said were instructions from God. Here are 5 things you didn't know about the murder of John Lennon.


This Wasn't the First Time Chapman Thought About Killing Lennon Chapman's act wasn't spontaneous, even though it did involve some last-minute decisions. According to Chapman's wife, he almost tried to kill Lennon a couple of months earlier but stopped because of his wife. Chapman expressed to his wife that he "needed to grow up as an adult and husband, and needed time to think about his life," so he decided against the plan. Unfortunately, his urge to kill Lennon won over his wish to move on, much to the dismay of his wife. She knew he had gone on a trip to New York in December but didn't realize that he was planning to go through with his original intentions.

Yes, There's a CIA Conspiracy Theory Because Chapman decided to plead guilty, at least one writer decided that meant there was more to Chapman's story than wanting fame. Someone wanting fame would want to go through with a huge public trial so pleading guilty must have meant that Chapman was actually a CIA hitman. The CIA connection supposedly sprang from the fact that Chapman had previously traveled to Beirut - known for CIA activity - when he did not have a lot of money. These claims, however, were never confirmed. 


James Taylor Met Chapman The Day Before The Murder The day before Chapman shot Lennon, he encountered another famous musician in a train station - folk legend James Taylor. The singer later said of his encounter with the gunman "His assassin had buttonholed me in the tube station... He pinned me to the wall, glistening with maniacal sweat, and tried to talk in some freak speech about what he was gonna do... how John was interested and how he was gonna get in touch with John Lennon. It was surreal to actually have contact with the guy 24 hours before he shot John". At the time, Taylor was living in a building near the Dakota and recalled hearing the incident place just down the street.

"Monday Night Football" Interrupted Its Broadcast To Break The News In a now-famous moment, Howard Cosell announced Lennon's death on that evening's Monday Night Football during a game between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots. The announcers, Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford, had briefly debated about cutting away from the game to announce the news. "Fellas, I just don't know. I'd like your opinion, I can't see this game situation allowing for this news flash," he said to his team just before announcing the murder. "If we know it, we've got to do it," his broadcast partner, Frank Gifford, replied. "It's a tragic moment, this is going to shake up the whole world."


Chapman Has Repeatedly Been Denied Parole, and August 2020 Is His Next Hearing Chapman was given 20 years to life and has been up for parole several times since his sentencing. He has been denied each time. His latest hearing was in 2018, when he was denied and kept in prison for the safety of society. His tenth parole hearing will be in August 2020, although there's no word on how the coronavirus pandemic may affect scheduling.