Apple TV+ is revisiting one of the most shocking cases of all time in its brand new documentary series, John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial.


On the evening of 8th December 1980, musician John Lennon, formerly of The Beatles, was fatally wounded in the archway of the Dakota, his residence in New York City.

The killer was Mark David Chapman, an American Beatles fan.

Including exclusive eyewitness interviews and previously unseen crime scene photos, the docuseries hopes to shed new light on the life and murder of music and cultural icon John Lennon, and the investigation and conviction of Mark David Chapman, who confessed to the crime.

Read on for everything you need know.

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Why did Mark David Chapman kill John Lennon?

Archival footage of John Lennon in “John Lennon: Murder Without A Trial,” premiering December 6, 2023 on Apple TV+.
John Lennon. Apple TV+

Mark David Chapman was a 25-year-old former security guard from Honolulu, Hawaii, who had no prior convictions. He was a fan of The Beatles.

Chapman claimed that he had been angered by John Lennon's infamous remark in 1966 that The Beatles were "more popular than Jesus"; by the lyrics of Lennon's song God, in which he states that he does not believe in The Beatles, God or Jesus; and Lennon's song Imagine, where he says "imagine no possessions", despite living a very lavish lifestyle.

According to Chapman, the latter made him believe Lennon was a "phony".

Chapman was believed to have planned the killing over several months and waited for Lennon at the Dakota.

Early in the evening of 8th December, Chapman met Lennon, who signed his copy of the album Double Fantasy.

Later that evening, when Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono returned home, Chapman fired five bullets from a revolver, four of which hit Lennon in the back.

The musician was immediately rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead on arrival, aged 40.

Where is Mark David Chapman now?

Chapman pleaded guilty to murdering Lennon and was given a sentence of 20 years to life imprisonment.

He's currently serving the sentence at Green Haven Correctional Facility in New York's Hudson Valley.

He interviews with the Board of Parole every two years seeking release. He will next appear in front of the board in February 2024.

He has been denied parole 12 times since he became eligible in 2000.

During his parole hearing in August 2022, Chapman said: "I am not going to blame anything else or anybody else for bringing me there. I knew what I was doing, and I knew it was evil, I knew it was wrong, but I wanted the fame so much that I was willing to give everything and take a human life."

The 68-year-old added: "I hurt a lot of people all over the place, and if somebody wants to hate me, that’s OK, I get it."

Back in 2020, Chapman told the board: "I assassinated him […] because he was very, very, very famous, and that’s the only reason. And I was very, very, very, very much seeking self-glory."

John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial launches on Apple TV+ on Wednesday 6th December.

Looking for something to watch in the meantime? Check out more of our Documentaries coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to see what's on tonight.


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