The Story of Lennon's Murder

Written By: Published In: ROOT Created Date: 2016-09-22 Hits: 153

It was on an unsuspecting night, on his way home from a studio session with his wife Yoko, that Lennon would be breathing his last...

It was on an unsuspecting night, on his way home from a studio session with his wife Yoko, that Lennon would be breathing his last. Earlier in the day, Lennon and Ono had done a photo shoot for Rolling Stones magazine, and after the shoot was done, in what would turn out to be his last interview, he had said, "I consider that my work won't be finished until I'm dead and buried and I hope that's a long, long time." After the studio session in the evening they had planned to go to the Stage Deli restaurant for dinner, but Lennon decided not to dine out so he could be home in time to say goodnight to his son.

 It was the most fatal decision he ever made.


Mark David Chapman was waiting for him outside his house, Dakota. He had been waiting for him since mid-morning, with a copy of Lennon's most recently released album, Double Fantasy, and a .38 revolver. There was something else that he was carrying with him: a copy of J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.  After shooting Lennon 4 times in the back, he would calmly sit down on the side-walk and start flipping through its pages. When the police officers came to arrest him, he did not run away, did not attempt to resist arrest, tried nothing to argue his innocence. The book, Chapman would later explain at a parole hearing, was his statement.

 As if shooting Lennon wasn't statement enough.


 Lennon never discouraged fans from showing up at his doorstep, and never turned down fans if they wanted an autograph. On his way to the limousine that would take him to the recording studio, he was approached by several fans, and when Lennon was handed a copy of Double Fantasy, naturally he assumed that all the fan wanted was an autograph. He signed the copy, and asked if there was anything else he could do: “Is this all you want?”

 Mark David Chapman nodded no. Lennon smiled at him, and Chapman nodded in agreement.


 Chapman had already planned to kill Lennon once before, in October. He had lived a lonely life, at one point being a drug addict, then taking to religion, and eventually dropping out from Convent College after one semester after his girlfriend dumped him. He tried to kill himself several times but never succeeded. He did succeed in killing someone, though.

“Mr Lennon?” Chapman had addressed Lennon twice on December 8, 1980 in this manner. The first was when he went to Dakota to take his autograph. The second was right before he drilled 4 bullets into Lennon, who could not sustain these injuries for more than a few moments, and was pronounced dead on arrival, on reaching the nearest hospital.

 The doorman kicked away the gun across the street, and frantically asked Chapman, “Do you know what you  just done?”

 Chapman calmly replied, "Yes, I just shot John Lennon."

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