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Lennon's killer cites feelings of inferiority

BUFFALO -- Mark David Chapman felt like a nobody and wanted to "steal John Lennon's fame" when he shot the former Beatle outside his New York City apartment in 1980, according to a transcript of Chapman's most recent parole hearing, released yesterday.

Chapman, 49, told the panel Oct. 5 that he had accomplished his goal of transferring Lennon's fame to himself in one sense, but in other ways, "I'm a bigger nobody than I was before."

"Because, you know, people hate me now instead of, you know, for something positive. So that's a worse state."

Chapman was denied parole; it was his third bid for freedom. He was denied release in 2000 and again in 2002.

Chapman said he had flown to New York to kill Lennon once before but stopped himself, telling his wife over the telephone, "Your love has saved me."

"What are you talking about?" was her reply.

The assassination occurred a few weeks later.

"It was just a tremendous compulsion of just feeling this big hole, of being what I thought was a big nobody, a big nothing, and I couldn't let it go," he said. "And it just kept going very strongly, and I couldn't stop it."

Chapman told the board he remembered Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono, looking at him through the window of a police cruiser just after his arrest. "That was a very traumatic thing that I blocked out of my memory for several months," he said.

It's not the first time Chapman has said that Lennon's slaying was motivated by his feelings of inferiority.

At his parole hearing in 2000, for instance, he told the board: "I felt like nothing, and I felt if I shot him, I would become something."

Chapman has been in prison more than 23 years for shooting Lennon as the musician returned from a recording session. He works as a law clerk and in the kitchen at the Attica Correctional Facility in western New York, and is in protective custody.

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