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John Lennon's Killer Is Denied Parole For A 10th Time

The man who waited outside John Lennon's New York apartment building and then shot him to death in 1980 has been denied parole a 10th time.

Mark David Chapman, 63, stood before a New York State Board of Parole panel on Wednesday. In its decision, which was emailed to NPR, the panel said that releasing him would be "incompatible with the welfare and safety of society."

It also noted that the fact that Chapman has only one crime on his criminal record does not mitigate his actions.

"While no one person's life is any more valuable than another's life, the fact that you chose someone who was not only a world renown person and beloved by millions, regardless of the pain and suffering you would cause to his family, friends and so many others, you demonstrated a callous disregard for the sanctity of human life and the pain and suffering of others," the parole panel wrote.

Days before the parole board made its decision, fans and local politicians gathered at the leafy memorial to the singer in Central Park, Strawberry Fields, to call for Chapman to remain behind bars.

Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, reportedly sends the board a letter every time Chapman is up for parole. In the past, she has asked that he remain locked up for her safety and that of Lennon's sons, as well as of Chapman himself.

Chapman, who was working as a hospital security guard when he shot Lennon, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He is a serving a 20-years-to-life sentence in the Wende Correctional Facility in New York, some 30 minutes outside Buffalo.

He was first eligible for parole in 2000, and his next appearance before the board will be August 2020.

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Corrected: August 23, 2018 at 11:00 PM CDT
An earlier version of this story incorrectly said John Lennon died in 1981. He was fatally shot in 1980.
Sasha Ingber is a reporter on NPR's breaking news desk, where she covers national and international affairs of the day.