The chilling contents of letters written by John Lennon’s killer have been revealed, showing his deep obsession with ‘Catcher on the Rye’ and his desire to be friends with his arresting officer.
In a series of never-before-seen letters obtained by Page Six, Mark David Chapman details to NYPD officer Steve Spiro his deranged mind.
He first wrote in 1983 that he ‘wanted to be friends’ with Officer Spiro, and asked if the cop would locate Chapman’s copy of ‘The Catcher in the Rye,’ which he had on him during the murder and was lost during Chapman’s arrest.
The letters, which are being sold by Gary Zimet’s Moments in Time, which sells rare or historic documents, are valued at around $75,000.
Chapman sent three typed letters to the NYPD officer. At the end of one, he mused that Mr Spiro was ‘still the best d*** cop in New York City.’
Chapman also eerily said: ‘We were all part of something big, Steve,’ adding that something ‘phenomenal’ was all going to ‘come out.’
In one of his letters, Chapman compared a self-immolating woman in Saigon to his belief in J.D. Salinger’s influential novel, saying that the poems found on her body were her legacy.‘The Catcher in the Rye’ is my statement,’ Chapman wrote.
New York's finest: Police direct traffic outside the Dakota the morning after Lennon was shot to death in front of the building; the arresting officer, Steve Spiro, received letters from Chapman
The convicted murderer also chillingly told Officer Spiro: ‘Lennon was a phony of the highest degree, but there were others who could – and would- have served the same purpose.’
Mr Spiro, who was the first officer on the scene of the shooting, said that he first thought the shots were fireworks over Central Park.
‘I grabbed the guy, Mark David Chapman,’ Mr Spiro said at the time. ‘I wheeled him around. I’m cuffing him…I turn to my right, and see John Lennon being carried out of the building.’The two had no more interaction than tha.
According to a hearing transcript released last August, Chapman, 57, a former security guard from Hawaii, said during an August 22 parole hearing that he's been offered lodging and a farm job by Stanley Thurber in Medina, a village between Rochester and Buffalo.
He also said that if he was granted parole, he would ‘probably stay right where I’m at’ – in prison.
The convicted killer added: ‘I’m so bonded that I could probably assure you that, if released, I’d probably stay right where I’m at.
‘You know, once you stand on a rock for 20 years and feel the waves on you and you don’t go anywhere because you’re on a rock, you don’t want to move.’
Chapman, who was again denied parole last August, shot Lennon in December 1980 outside the Manhattan apartment building where the former Beatle lived.
He was sentenced in 1981 to 20 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
Speaking about Mr Thuber in the hearing, Chapman told the parole board: 'He's a minister and he's an older fellow and he has a lot of contacts in the area and he has agreed to refurbish his upstairs apartment for me and offered me two jobs.’
He said his wife, Gloria Hiroko Chapman, met Thurber at a church function and was 'impressed by his deep commitment to Christ.' After corresponding with Mr Thurber, Chapman said, they met for the first time on August 20.
During his latest hearing, Chapman remembered Lennon as a 'very cordial and very decent man' who stopped to sign an autograph hours before the murder.
'He was very kind to me,' Chapman said. 'Ironically, very kind and was very patient with me. The limousine was waiting, his wife was waiting in the limousine, and he took his time with me and he got the pen going and he signed my album. He asked me if I needed anything else. I said, no. No, sir and he walked way.'
Chapman, who said his motivation for killing Lennon was instant notoriety, also told the parole board he was surprised more celebrities haven't been the targets of violence and said he has thought about someone trying to kill him as a way to gain fame as the person who avenged Lennon.
'To do something like that against another person, it's something that would keep me alive and boost me,' he said.
'That's ludicrous and I'm actually glad that that's not done more. I thought maybe more people would do that and I'm glad that they have not.
'I'm surprised that they have not because this society is just geared toward celebrity like crazy.'
A day after the 1980 murder, Mark David Chapman,centre,is escorted out of police station with a jacket covering his face and head
Weapon of choice:The 38 calibre handgun used by Mark David Chapman to kill John seen on the 25th anniversary of Lennon's death, and stored by the NYPD
Chapman, who has said he considered killing several other celebrities, told the parole board he wanted Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, to know that he felt no anger toward Lennon.
'It wasn't anything against her husband as a person, only as a famous person,' he said.
'If he was less famous than three or four other people on the list, he would not have been shot. And that's the truth.'
At his previous hearing, he recalled that he had considered shooting Johnny Carson or Elizabeth Taylor instead, and said again that he chose Lennon because the ex-Beatle was more accessible.
He said that his century-old Upper West Side apartment building by Central Park 'wasn't quite as cloistered."
Chapman fired five shots outside the Dakota apartment house on December 8, 1980, hitting Lennon four times in front of his wife, Yoko Ono, and others.
The former security guard from Hawaii said that his motivation was instant notoriety but that he later realized he made a horrible decision for selfish reasons.
'I felt that by killing John Lennon I would become somebody and instead of that I became a murderer and murderers are not somebodies,' Chapman told the board two years ago.
Ono, 79, had said two years ago that she was trying to be 'practical' in asking that her husband's killer remain behind bars.
She said Chapman might be a danger to her, other family members and perhaps even himself.
In a 1992 interview at Attica, Chapman told Barbara Walters that it was dark when he shot Lennon in the back with a .38-caliber revolver after he exited a limousine, headed up the walkway to his apartment building and looked at Chapman.
'I heard this voice - not an audible voice, an inaudible voice - saying over and over, `Do it, do it, do it,'' Chapman said. He explained, 'I thought that by killing him I would acquire his fame.'
He has been in protective custody with a good disciplinary record, according to corrections officials.
Chapman was denied parole in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2012.