Cropped Image of John Lennon book cover sold at Amazon.
John Lennon of Beatles’ fame was shot to death in front of his wife, Yoko Ono, in New York City on December 8, 1980. He was only 40 years old. The couple was walking towards their apartment building the “Dakota,” in Manhattan, opposite Central Park, when the crime occurred.
Among other achievements, Lennon was a much-admired peace activist – a spirited opponent of the Vietnam War. The native of Liverpool, England, he had a son, Sean, then age 5, with Yoko.
As the fates would have it, Lennon’s anti-war stance made him many enemies, including an ultimate loser by the name of Mark David Chapman. The cowardly assassin, who hailed from Texas, was twenty-five years old when he gunned Lennon down with four bullets from his .38 special revolver handgun – a “Charter Arms.” Chapman was also jealous of the fact that the former Beatle was personally worth millions of dollars.
Although Lennon was Chapman’s main target, he had developed others in his sight if the renowned musician and composer wasn’t available. Two names most prominently mentioned were comedian Johnny Carson and President Ronald Reagan.
The creepy Chapman is still in prison for his crime of second-degree murder. He has been denied parole on eleven different occasions. The fondest hope of many of Lennon fans is that Chapman will rot in his penitentiary cell until he dies – and then – if there is one – rot in Hell!
Enter the celebrated mystery writer, James Patterson. He has written a first-rate book, aided and abetted by two young writers, Casey Sherman and David Wedge, which captured the essence of this true-crime drama.
The title of Patterson’s tome is: “The Last Days of John Lennon.” It tells two stories: Chapman’s and Lennon’s – interspersing scenes from each, while jumping back and forth and leading the readers along to its deadly finale.
Sadly, there are a lot of demented characters out there in our America who are a danger to themselves and to others. Look what happened just last week in Nashville, TN. One Anthony Quinn Warner, age 64, blew up a city block for little or no reason, killing himself in the process.
Getting back to our villain, Chapman. Patterson traces his movements, and state of mind, too, for months leading up to December 8, 1980 – the date of infamy.
The deranged hitman began his journey by buying a handgun in Hawaii. He was going to purchase a .22 caliber weapon, but the salesman “talked him out of it.” He told him with a .38 you’re “going to bring him down.”
The clerk was clueless about Chapman’s evil plans. He carried the weapon, with its bullets, in his suitcase, which, lucky for him, wasn’t searched by the airport authorities either before boarding and/or on leaving the airplane.
The author underscored how Chapman, loved his “coke” habit and also hated Lennon for saying that the “Beatles were more popular than Jesus.” When Chapman got to NYC, he stayed at the YMCA only blocks from the Dakota. He phoned his wife, Gloria, and said that he planned to kill John Lennon. She told him: “Come home!”
Looking back it’s hard to believe that Chapman had once worked as a Christian “missionary” in Lebanon. He also served as a counselor in a Vietnamese refugee camp and heard tales of “Vietnamese women being raped by American soldiers.”
Chapman told himself that Lennon’s lyrics about love and peace were all “bullshit.” As he walked towards the Dakota to commit his foul deed, he chants under his breath: “Imagine if John Lennon was dead. It’s easy if you try.”
The two prosecutors in Chapman’s case, Kim Hogrefe and Allen Sullivan. were convinced that he was a “coldhearted, calculated killer, who had made multiple trips to New York, had bought the gun in Hawaii and had the presence of mind to fly to Atlanta to buy bullets and knew to smuggle the gun in his luggage so it would not be found.”
They said if he was obsessed about anything, “it was bringing attention on himself.” The state was convinced that Lennon’s killer was totally “narcissistic” with a “grandiose” view of himself.
The author revealed that Lennon at the time of his death was finally finding some stability in his life. He and Yoko had settled down with their son Sean. By all accounts, they were happy, enjoying their new neighbors.
Getting back to Chapman. He told the trial judge that he was “possessed by a demon.” The judge didn’t buy it. Today, Chapman is still in prison awaiting yet another futile parole hearing. The mourning, however for the charismatic and beloved Lennon, goes on.
Bottom line: Patterson’s book on Lennon is a winner.
Bill Hughes is an attorney, author, actor and photographer. His latest book is “Byline Baltimore.” It can be found at: https://www.amazon.com/William-Hughes/e/B00N7MGPXO/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1