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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Losing Lennon: Countdown to Murder

Aired January 1, 2011 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former Beatle John Lennon has been shot at his Manhattan apartment tonight.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): December 8, 1980 -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People here in Britain are shocked and saddened.

ROBERTS: An icon lost, a family in mourning, a world wondering why. Thirty years later, those who were there speak out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's just -- he just shot Lennon.

ROBERTS: Exclusive recordings of a killer.

MARK DAVID CHAPMAN, MURDERED FORMER BEATLES MEMBER JOHN LENNON (voice-over): I heard boom, boom, boom.

ROBERTS: An insider's look at the murder of a legend. "LOSING LENNON, COUNTDOWN TO MURDER."

JOHN LENNON, MUSIC ICON AND LEGEND (voice-over): Here we are. I'm going to be 40. Sean's going to be five. Isn't it great? And life begins at 40, so they promised.

ROBERTS: October 9, 1980, was a day of celebration, a father and son who remarkably shared the same birthday. It was a big one for John Lennon. He was turning 40. At the same time he was turning a page in his life, one that would put him back on top of the charts and propel him back into the spotlight.

BOB GRUEN, ROCK AND ROLL PHOTOGRAPHER: It was really unique that John and Sean had the same birth date.

ROBERTS: Bob Gruen was Lennon's personal photographer. He was there for their joint celebration at New York's legendary Tavern on the Green.

GRUEN: I remember a lot of little kids running around and screaming, a typical birthday party and all the colorful things going on. And John was very happy to be there and to be with his son.

ROBERTS (on camera): How significant was his 40th birthday?

GRUEN: Well, I think, you know, he wrote the song "Starting Over" about that. That he really felt that life begins at 40.

ROBERTS (voice-over): "Starting Over", an anthem that Lennon wrote after five years of virtual seclusion. From 1975 to 1980, Lennon was out of the public eye and out of the business of making records.

After Sean was born, he had an epiphany. There was more to life he found than rock and roll.

JO. LENNON: I don't want to have to sell my soul again as it were to have a hit record. It's -- I've discovered that I can live without -- without it and it makes you happy if any.

ROBERTS: John Lennon just wanted to be a dad. It was a long, hard road to get there. Trying to have a baby, Yoko Ono suffered three miscarriages. So when Sean finally arrived, Lennon was transformed.

JO. LENNON: Yes, I looked after the baby and I made the bread and I was a house husband and I'm proud of it. And it was an enlightening experience for me, because it was a complete reversal of my whole upbringing.

ROBERTS: John Lennon was raised by his mother and aunt. By all accounts, Lennon wanted to be the father he never had and the father he never was to first son Julian.

JULIAN LENNON, JOHN LENNON'S FIRST SON: You know, the time he was away from me, you know, he didn't really have a choice, you know? I mean, when the -- when The Beatles took off in the early days, he was out on the road and there was no question of him having a break at that time.

ROBERTS: When Julian was born in 1963, the Lennons kept him a secret, fearful that fans would reject the Beatle who was both married and a parent. Lennon was always on the road, rarely home.

Then he met Yoko Ono, divorced Julian's mother, Cynthia. And in August of 1971 moved to New York City, leaving behind an 8-year-old son he barely knew.

ROBERTS (on camera): It's got to be tough for a kid.

JU. LENNON: Of course. Very tough. But I knew life without him more than with him.

ROBERTS (voice-over): The move to New York put an ocean between John and Julian. One the older Lennon would come to regret. At the same time, it was liberating, a release from the intense scrutiny at home in England, something Lennon told Tom Snyder before his death.

TOM SNYDER, NBC HOST, "TOMORROW": -- or bad.

JO. LENNON: You see, having gone through the Beatlemania thing, nowadays it's nothing like that. I mean, I can walk down the street and some people will say, oh, hi, John, you know, if it's in New York, right? And they don't hassle me. I might sign one autograph, two autographs, you know?

JERI MOLL (ph), JOHN LENNON FAN: I eventually -- I got brave enough to drive down to the Dakota.

ROBERTS: Jeri Moll (ph) was one of those fans. She became an almost permanent fixture outside the Dakota. Over time, the Lennons came to trust her, enough that she went on family outings and captured many unguarded moments with young Sean, Yoko and John.

MOLL (ph): He liked the -- the anonymity of New York, being able to come and go like a New Yorker.

ROBERTS: In the summer of 1980, Sean was old enough to start school. After five years as a self-described house husband, Lennon was ready for new adventures. He took up sailing, and after weeks of intense lessons, found himself on a trip to Bermuda, in the middle of a fierce squall and in deep trouble.

JACK DOUGLAS, RECORD PRODUCER AND FRIEND: At some point during the storm, he took the helm and -- and it was almost a life threatening.

ROBERTS: Jack Douglas was Lennon's record producer and a close friend.

ROBERTS (on camera): How did that whole episode change his life?

DOUGLAS: You become more appreciative of, you know, the little things that you do have. And I think that was reflected in the music in that he said, OK, it's time. I'm doing this, because tomorrow might not be here.

ROBERTS (voice-over): So all by himself, alone in Bermuda, Lennon wrote and recorded these demos for what would become his final albums, "Double Fantasy" and "Milk and honey".

DOUGLAS: He's playing acoustic guitar and singing into a boom box. It was absolutely incredible, it was magical.

ROBERTS: But along with Lennon's new found inspiration came an eerie sense of his own mortality.

DOUGLAS: He talked about it quite often. I have never worked with an artist that had a sense of his own demise.

ROBERTS: And as Lennon contemplated death, there was someone coming, a man with voices in his head, lurking in the shadows. His personal calendar counting down to the day he would murder John Lennon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHAPMAN: Now this is where I'm guilty, where I'm wrong. It's a month earlier, I could have then -- I could have stopped. But I didn't, I wanted to kill him.

ROBERTS: It was fall in Honolulu, a paradise for some. But in the twisted world of Mark David Chapman's mind, there was torment. On the surface, he didn't appear a killer. Happily married to Gloria Abe, an avid churchgoer, a security guard at a local condominium, but underneath Chapman was a very troubled and angry man.

GLORIA ABE, CHAPMAN'S WIFE (voice-over): He kept talking about divorce -

ROBERTS: His wife Gloria, in a recording heard here for the first time.

ABE: He kept talking about divorce, threatening me with it, you know? If you don't do this, I'm just going to divorce you or something. It was really miserable.

ROBERTS: And she says abusive.

ABE: I don't remember what I said, but I must have said something sarcastic and he hit me real hard like on my ear. I had to sit down it hurt so bad.

JAMES GAINES, JOURNALIST, WROTE A BOOK ABOUT LENNON'S KILLER: He was crazier than I imagined he was going to be.

ROBERTS: Jim Gaines was a young reporter in the 1980s, working on a book about Lennon's killer. Between 1984 and 1985, he spent hundreds of hours at Attica Prison and had rare unprecedented access to Chapman, his family, friends, lawyer and psychologist.

GAINES: He had a whole population of little people living in his head, to whom he gave instructions, who had meetings about what his activities should be. I mean, it was extreme.

ROBERTS (on camera): When was the very first manifestation according to members of family of this world of little people?

GAINES: When he was 8 or 10 -

This is the house where Mark Chapman lived at.

ROBERTS (voice-over): The seeds of Mark David Chapman's violence may have been sewn in childhood in Atlanta, Georgia. Vance Hunter was best friends with him through junior high.

ROBERTS (on camera): What was his experience like in this house?

VANCE HUNTER, CHAPMAN CHILDHOOD FRIEND: There was a lot of hollering and screaming and they would come in and slap Mark or his dad would come in and hit him for no apparent reason.

ROBERTS (voice-over): But it was Chapman's destructive fantasies that really spooked Hunter.

HUNTER: When we were playing with our toy soldiers out in the yard, he would give them names. If something happened and his side lost, his would destroy the commanding toy soldier. He would cut him up into pieces or burn him.

ROBERTS: Chapman's intense fantasy life began to zero in on to the Beatles.

HUNTER: It started out as a normal, this is my favorite Beatle. And it slowly involved into him mimicking John Lennon and everything that he would do in his life, his hair, his glasses.

ROBERTS: And as the Beatles started getting into drugs, Chapman followed.

HUNTER: At first, it was experimental as it was with me and he started trying harder drugs and he started experimenting with acid.

ROBERTS: Hunter says the deeper Chapman got into drugs, the deeper his obsession with Lennon became until one weekend when he took eight hits of powerful LSD.

HUNTER: His eyes were erratic, unfocused and dilated. You could tell there was a change in Mark. He said I think I am John Lennon now.

ROBERTS: Then his life took another obsessive turn, a sudden about face.

MILES MCMANUS, CHAPMAN CHILDHOOD FRIEND: He got very -- very far into religion, what we used to call Jesus freaks at the time.

ROBERTS: Childhood friend Miles McManus says loved turned to hate when Chapman discovered an old Lennon statement about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus.

MCMANUS: He was very mad about it and would not listen to Beatles records anymore and he destroyed all of his record albums and even said he changed the words to "Imagine" to say imagine if John were dead.

ROBERTS (on camera): At that point, he was imagining a world without John Lennon?

MCMANUS: Yes.

ROBERTS (voice-over): Chapman carried that anger with him to Hawaii. He first moved here in 1976. He had dumped religion, dropped out of college, and broken up with his girlfriend.

Depressed and adrift, on a scenic overlook like this, he tried to kill himself with a hose from the car exhaust through the window.

GAINES: And he sat inside waiting to die.

ROBERTS: It didn't work.

GAINES: He was rescued against his will. He was kind of hoping he was dead, but the exhaust had burnt a hole in the hose.

ROBERTS: The suicide attempt led him to Gloria, a travel agent, she helped him plan an extended trip to try to get his life together. He proposed to her in the sands of Kailua Beach. They married in 1979.

Just months later, Chapman began his frenzied descent down the path to murder.

GAINES: This is his calendar from September '79 to December of '80 and it leads you all the way through his manic months before Lennon's death. And you can see it becomes crazier and crazier with crossings out and things to do.

ROBERTS: Chapman became obsessed, especially with books and the cult classic "The Catcher in the Rye."

CHAPMAN: I had read "The Catcher in the Rye". I was spending hours and hours at the -- at the library going through every book in the library, I mean literally. I think that's when I started getting these swells of, of whatever, you know they were. And I brought home this paper back book about Lennon. He's standing in front of the Statue of Liberty. And I saw him and I was angered that he would pull such a phony thing on everybody.

ROBERTS: Phony, Chapman goes on to say because while Lennon sang about a perfect world with no possessions -- he was also a very rich man, living a life of extraordinary privilege. Bob Gruen shot the iconic photo in 1974.

GRUEN: The Nixon administration was trying to throw John Lennon out of the country. John stood for peace in the Statue of Liberty and it's all about peace and liberty.

ROBERTS: But in Chapman's dark mind, that's not what registered. On October 29, Chapman would leave for New York City. A gun in hand. Murder on his mind.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LENNON (voice-over): "Double Fantasy", this is our first album. I feel like nothing happened before today.

ROBERTS: Near the end of October, 1980, "Starting Over", the first single off John Lennon's comeback album "Double Fantasy" was released in the United States.

JO. LENNON: The album was about a man and woman's relationship together. GRUEN: He sounds stronger and clearer than ever before in his life.

ROBERTS: Photographer Bob Gruen chronicled those final recording sessions.

GRUEN: He really seemed to have understood what it was like to grow up, to become an adult and to take responsibility for your life.

ROBERTS: Thousands of miles from New York City, Mark Chapman read about the resurgence of the man he once loved and now had grown to hate. A sense of rage was growing inside of him.

GAINES: The little people were talking to him very avidly.

ROBERTS: Chapman told writer Jim Gaines that a war was raging in his mind between the good or big people as he called them, and the evil little people.

GAINES: He was in the house sitting naked in front of his stereo listening to really loud Beatles music and invoking Satan to help him have the power to kill John Lennon.

ROBERTS: Chapman's plan involved a trip to New York. At the end of October, he quit his job as a condominium security guard and signed out for the last time. On the line where he typically wrote "Chappy", this time he wrote something very different.

DON BLUM (ph), CONDOMINIUM PRESIDENT: He signed out as John Lennon.

ROBERTS: Condominium president Don Blum (ph) says no one noticed the change in signature, nor did they notice a change in Chapman's mood.

BLUM (ph): Nobody really talked about Mark. He was just there cautious, did his job, did nothing out of the ordinary that would attract attention to him.

ROBERTS: On October 29, Chapman flew to New York City armed with thousands of dollars and a five-shot .38 caliber Charter Arms Special. Ironically, the dealer who sold it to him was a man named Ono.

GAINES: And it says here, M left for New York at 3:30 P.M.

ROBERTS (on camera): Right.

ROBERTS (voice-over): Chapman's personal calendar reveals the frenzy of that first trip, a disturbed killer on the move, changing hotels three times in three days, living it up like a man with no future.

CHAPMAN: I went to front row plays, you know. Forty-dollar carriage rides, taxis, limos all over the place, first class flights, you know, filet mignon at the Waldorf. ROBERTS: He even hired two prostitutes, Chapman insists it was just for company, not sex. All the while he was stalking John Lennon. Two of his hotels were blocks away from Lennon's Dakota apartment. Though according to Gaines, Lennon wasn't the only celebrity on Chapman's mind.

GAINES: He thought about killing Johnny Carson. He thought about killing George C. Scott. He thought about killing Elizabeth Taylor.

ROBERTS: But unlike many of the others, Lennon was accessible.

GAINES: It was so easy for Chapman to know where he was. He was so public about living in the Dakota and he was so easy about being in public.

ROBERTS: After several days scoping out the Dakota, Chapman was ready. All he needed was bullets, but it was illegal to buy them in New York City. So on November 5, he flew to his old hometown, Atlanta, to meet up with an old friend, a police officer.

CHAPMAN: I told him that I'm staying in New York for a number of months and to get away for a while, that I needed it for protection, you know. He gave me five extra charges.

ROBERTS: November 9, Chapman flew back to New York, armed and fully prepared to carry out his deadly act. On the way, he read an "Esquire Magazine" on Lennon, which only further fueled his hatred.

But in New York, Chapman decided to take in one last night at the movies. He saw "Ordinary People", the story of a suicidal teen and a troubled family. The film had a profound effect on him, filling him with a new resolve not to kill Lennon. He called his wife Gloria.

ABE: He had finally realized what I meant to him and finally understood something, and he's ready to come home.

ROBERTS: Chapman returned to Hawaii in mid-November. Gloria was waiting.

CHAPMAN: It's crazy, I laid out the gun and I laid out all five bullets, you know, she's never seen a gun before. And I said this is what I was going to do. My god, I still have deep-seated resentment that she didn't go to somebody, even the police, and say, "Look my husband's bought a gun and he says he's going to kill John Lennon".

ROBERTS: She didn't alert anyone because Gloria says her husband had promise to seek counseling.

ROBERTS (on camera): December 1, he tells her that I'm done with this idea, I threw the gun in the ocean.

GAINES: Right.

ROBERTS: Did she buy that? GAINES: Mark could be very persuasive. I think she wanted to believe it. She didn't call the police. She didn't call a psychiatrist. She didn't call anyone.

ROBERTS (voice-over): But even if Gloria had, it likely would not have quieted the voices for long. Chapman himself admitted he was unstoppable.

CHAPMAN: I was on a very fast-moving roller coaster and there was just no stopping it.

ROBERTS: That roller coaster would soon take Chapman back to New York, the battle with his demons, still raging inside his head.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN LENNON: I'm so hungry for making records because of the way I feel. I would like to make at least one more album.

ROBERTS: It was the first weekend in December, 1980. John Lennon was back in the recording studio. Producers Jack Douglas remembers Lennon asking for his help.

JACK DOUGLAS, PRODUCER: And suddenly I got a call and said I want to come in. Yoko and I wanted to do something together. He said, it's only going to be you and I, nobody else, just you, engineer and producer.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Alone in the studio, they worked around the clock on Yoko Ono's eerie song "Walking on Thin Ice."

(MUSIC PLAYING)

ROBERTS: It would be Lennon's last recording.

DOUGLAS: The thing about the whole project was that he wasn't supposed to be doing it. The idea was finish "double fantasy" put it out.

ROBERTS: But Lennon seemed almost obsessed with finishing this haunting song, then moving on.

DOUGLAS: He was going to start this second leg of his life now as a solo artist with his wife.

ROBERTS: Lennon was planning his first tour in years. Meanwhile, Mark David Chapman was planning his deadly plot. He bragged about it in these never before heard recordings.

MARK DAVID CHAPMAN, JOHN LENNON'S KILLER: It had to be done. Nothing could have stopped me.

ROBERTS: On December 6, Chapman arrived in New York City. He checked into the YMCA, just blocks from Lennon's home, almost immediately, he began stalking his victim and headed over to the Dakota.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He was very quiet, dressed casually, dressed very normally.

ROBERTS: Jerry Mall and her friend Jude Stein were there when Chapman arrived.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And then he said that he was there to see John and it was always his dream to meet John.

ROBERTS: But Lennon never came out of the building. Mall and Stein went across the street to have lunch. Chapman set out to buy Lennon's new Double Fantasy album. Less than an hour later, they were all back at the sidewalk of the Dakota.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He was out there waving the album, very excited that he had it. I got it, I got it. And he said, do you think John would sign it? I said, if you were quiet and mannerly and if he had the time, maybe he would sign it for you. He said, oh, OK, so he is nice? I said absolutely, I said he's terrific.

ROBERTS (on camera): But he had this idea that maybe he wasn't nice?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yes.

ROBERTS (voice-over): Chapman gave Mall no clue about his deep- seeded anger for Lennon. But if she left to take it a movie, he did hint as his deadly plan.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He had said to us, you might not see him again, this may be your last time to see him.

ROBERTS (on camera): He was indicating to you in a way that you didn't understand at the time that Lennon might not be around much longer?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Right.

ROBERTS (voice-over): Chapman ended his vigil outside the Dakota at 5:00 in the afternoon. Had he waited just 15 more minutes, he would have seen Lennon coming home. He tried again on Sunday, still no sign of Lennon. That night Chapman bought playboy magazine, featuring Lennon's first interview in five years. It further fueled his obsessive determination. Then Chapman called a prostitute to his room. Just as his hero Holden Caulfield have done in the book, "The Catcher in The Rye." When he awoke, on the morning of Monday December 8, Chapman was ready.

CHAPMAN: That morning, I left the hotel room. I knew what was going to happen that day, I just knew it.

ROBERTS: Chapman spent much of the day outside the Dakota. At one point, he even met Sean Lennon and his nanny who were talking to Jerry Mall's friend Jude.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Chapman came from behind her, reached around to shake Sean's hand, and then he commented to her, he's a beautiful little boy, isn't he?

ROBERTS: Meanwhile, inside the Dakota, Lennon was beginning the last day of his life. It was a busy one, starting with the now famous Annie Leibovitz photo shoot for "Rolling Stone" magazine. As the shoot was wrapping up, Dave Sholin (ph) from RKL radio arrived at the Dakota. He would be the last person to interview John Lennon.

(on camera) What kind of mood was he in?

DAVE SHOLIN (PH), RKL RADIO: I would say his mood through this entire interview was very upbeat, very optimistic.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: At the time I was so young that I couldn't really process it.

ROBERTS: Lori Kay (ph), Ron Humol (ph) and Bert Keen (ph) were with Sean.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He was engaging, he was polite, he wanted to hear what he had to say. He was just one of the guys that was so comfortable all day.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He's the most wonderful guy you could ever meet and we didn't want to leave.

ROBERTS: And he said, I wish we had more time too, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He did.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes. He just wanted it to go on and on.

ROBERTS (voice-over): They all left the Dakota at about 4:00, Lennon was headed to the studio, Mark David Chapman was outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So, this one particular fellow came up to us and wanted an autograph and so I grabbed an album, I asked John to -- I said, would you sign this?

Ever the obliging rock car, Lennon stopped, at the moment, killer and victim face to face was preserved forever by another Lennon fun with a camera. Then Lennon jumped into a limo, with Yoko, Sholin (ph), and two members of his team. Lori Kay stayed behind to meet a friend. On the sidewalk, Chapman came out to her and literally assaulted Lori with questions.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Did you talk to him? Did you get his autograph? What did he say? What was he like? And he kept, it was like badgering me.

ROBERTS: How did he strike you?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Certainly it never entered my mind that he had any kind of agenda, any harm, plans to harm John or Yoko, I just thought he was just kind of some obsessive weirdo.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I got kind of a sense that he was just going to stand there until they got back.

ROBERTS: Chapman did stand there for another six hours, Lennon finished up his last recording session.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And he said, good night, big smile, he was thrilled. We were also happy with how the thing came out and everything was good.

ROBERTS: It was late, after 10:00 p.m. Lennon's limousine pulled out front of the Dakota.

CHAPMAN: And I remember a black limousine pulling up. And I remember after the car left, there was a woman who screamed.

ROBERTS: Mark David Chapman was waiting. The final seconds of Lennon's life were ticking away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHAPMAN: When the car pulled out and Yoko got out, something on the back of my mind was going, do it, do it. Over and over. I stepped off the curb, walked, turned and I took the gun and just, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

ROBERTS: A quiet night quickly shattered by five shots from Mark David Chapman's 38 caliber revolver, four bullets hit John Lennon. One exploded the glass of the booth near doorman Jose who sprung into action.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He shook the gun out of my hand and he kicked the gun across the pavement. He shook me out of my shock. It hit me like an airplane had hit you in the face, you know, what have happened, I really shot this man.

PETE CULLEN (PH), VETERAN OF NEW YORK'S 20TH PRECINCT: The dispatcher said, in the 20th precinct we have reports of shots fired at 72 and street and Central Park West, do we have a unit to respond?

ROBERTS: Pete Cullen (ph), a 15-year veteran of New York's 20th precinct was one of the first police officers on the scene.

CULLEN: We approached the driveway very cautiously and as we got in there, we saw a few people standing around, and no victim, no nothing, but everyone was frozen, the only person I knew was Jose who was the doorman, so, I said Jose, what's going on? He says, he just shot Lennon.

ROBERTS: While his partner, officer Steve Spiro stayed with Chapman, Cullen went to find Lennon.

CULLEN: And I remember seeing red coming out of his mouth. He was face down on the rug.

ROBERTS (on camera): You thought right then that he was gravely wounded?

CULLEN: Oh, yes. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: At that point I looked to the left and I saw a man standing there reading a book. A heavy set man who was reading a book.

ROBERTS (voice-over): Tony Pama (ph) and Froilan Berger (ph) were the next officers on the scene.

(on camera) Did you get a look at what book he was reading?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, he was reading "Catcher in The Rye."

ROBERTS: He was reading "Cather in The Rye."

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.

ROBERTS: Just sitting there calmly reading.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.

ROBERTS (voice-over): With Chapman's subdued, Pama and Froilan Berger (ph) rushed into Lennon's side.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We just said, we got to go with this guy, we can't wait for an ambulance that could take 10, 15 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So, we did what the only thing we could do, we picked him up and carried him out.

ROBERTS: Chapman stood there watching.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: They drag Lennon to the car, I saw the blood all over him.

ROBERTS: While two squad cars raced to the hospital, one with Lennon and one with Ono inside, Chapman waited in another police vehicle for his fate to play out.

CHAPMAN: They left me alone in the car in the back, which frightened the heck out of me. I thought, I kept thinking someone was going to shoot me, kill me.

CULLEN: At one point, while we were driving from the scene to the station house, he even apologized for giving us a hard time and ruing our night. I said, you got to be kidding? I said, you apologizing for ruining. You know you just ruined your whole life? And he said, well, he said, I have two people inside of me, I have a little person and a big person. And he said, the big person won the battle the last few weeks. Tonight the little person won the battle.

ROBERTS: Within minutes, Chapman was at the 20th precinct. Inside a small cell, the enormity of what he had done finally hit him.

CHAPMAN: And I remember saying, you know, this is it. I said, I -- this can't be happening, you know? This is awful. I said God help me.

ROBERTS: But no one would help Chapman. And we would soon learn when it came to John Lennon, no one could.

STEVEN LINDH (PH), DIRECTOR, ROOSEVELT HOSPITAL: Two police officers came around the corner, one with the body over his shoulder and the other one was yelling -- he was holding him just like the fireman hold. And the other one yelled, gunshot wound, no vital signs.

ROBERTS: Dr. Steven Lindh (ph) was the director of emergency services at Roosevelt Hospital.

LINDH: He was lifeless, he had no pulse, no blood pressure, he was unresponsive.

ROBERTS: Lennon was wheeled into a trauma room. Lindh opened Lennon's chest and with Lennon's heart in his hands, tried to massage back a pulse. Doctors transfused massive amounts of blood, but as fast as it went in, it went leaked right back out.

LINDH: After trying for about 10, 15, 20 minutes, it was clear that nothing could be done and John Lennon was pronounced dead.

ROBERTS: 11:10 p.m., Dr. Lindh knew what had to be done next, the devastating task of telling Yoko Ono that John was gone.

SONDRA SHOWHAN (PH), HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR: She was sitting in a little room right off the ER.

ROBERTS: Hospital administrator Sondra Showhan (ph) was with Ono, she has never spoken about that night.

SHOWHAN: She was in shock and she was certainly anticipatory because of that point, she was still expecting that John could be saved I'm sure.

LINDH: I probably said something like I have very bad news, in spite of all of our efforts to save your husband, we were unable to and he died.

ROBERTS: Ono was devastated.

LINDH: She was literally lying on the concrete floor of our emergency department hitting her head against the wall. I put my hands behind her head fearful that she was going to hurt herself.

ROBERTS: The world would soon learn as well and so that one fan turned fanatic sitting alone in his isolated cell.

CHAPMAN: I couldn't believe it was happening, you know? This is a nightmare. You know, it was utter chaos.

ROBERTS: But for Mark David Chapman, the nightmare had only just begun.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Former Beatle John Lennon has been shot at his Manhattan apartment tonight. Police say that Lennon was taken to Roosevelt Hospital where his condition...

JULIAN LENNON, JOHN LENNON'S SON: Hard to imagine it was reality. Still to this day, in so many ways it still feels like a dream.

ROBERTS: John Lennon's first son Julian was in Liverpool when he got the news.

JULIAN LENNON: I came downstairs, all the curtains were closed, I found out what had happened and then of course, you know, when mom arrived, we were in bits.

ROBERTS: He immediately flew to New York.

JULIAN LENNON: Every person on that plane had the newspaper of dad's, you know, picture and John Lennon, slain and murdered. And that was a toughie. That was a toughie.

ROBERTS: He went right to the Dakota for a tearful reunion with his 5-year-old brother Sean.

(on camera) You had a sense of responsibility duty for your younger brother?

JULIAN LENNON: Very much, well, yes. It reminded me of something.

ROBERTS: What did it reminds you?

JULIAN LENNON: Well, my -- you know, we were of similar age when he sort of, when he left us. I mean the first time around that it happened to me, at least, you know, he didn't pass away, but this was, you know, going to be tough on a little boy that had a great deal of love coming from his father.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: By the time the news broke of Lennon's death, New Yorkers begun screaming to the Dakota...

ROBERTS (voice-over): As family came to the Dakota to mourn Lennon's murder, so did thousands of fans.

(people singing) "All we are saying is give peace a chance."

BOB GRUEN, JOHN LENNON'S FRIEND: It was actually kind of difficult for Yoko and her son because they were a few floors up in their apartment and just hearing these songs all night, in another sense, it was a tribute and in another sense it was painful.

ROBERTS: Close friend Bob Gruen was at the Dakota.

GRUEN: Yoko was in bed for quite a while, she couldn't really function very much. ROBERTS: Remarkably, in the midst of her grief, Yoko Ono went back into the studio.

(on camera) What really compelled her to get out of bed, to get out of Dakota, go down and finish this record?

GRUEN: At that time, Lennon's last work not be completed, it wouldn't be right. I think she wanted to finish it. But that doesn't mean it wasn't very painful, it wasn't very difficult to go on.

ROBERTS (voice-over): As one wife mourned her dead husband, another apologized for hers.

GLORIA CHAPMAN, WIFE OF MARK DAVID CHAPMAN: Being a Beatles fan, I mourn the death of John Lennon and feel great sadness for his wife Yoko and his son Sean.

ROBERTS: Gloria Chapman spoke for the first and only time on camera, December 10th 1980 at a Press Conference in Honolulu. Her answer to one question shocked many people.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Gloria, do you still love him?

GLORIA CHAPMAN: Yes, very much.

ROBERTS: She later reflected on the days right after the murder.

GLORIA CHAPMAN: For I guess the first few weeks, I was just in a dream kind of thing. I mean, it just didn't seem real, you know, thinking you know, he's going to come back or something.

ROBERTS: Of course, Chapman would never come back. He was charged with second-degree murder. For months after the shooting, dozens of psychiatrists tried to get inside his head as Chapman's legal team strategized.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: They were trying to mount an insanity defense. This was a guy who had decided that he would rather spend the rest of his life in prison than one more day in obscurity. That sounds pretty insane to me.

ROBERTS (on camera): So, is that why he killed Lennon, he wanted to be famous?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think that was part of it. He wanted the power of fame behind his life.

CHAPMAN: It was important to me to have that identity, I guess. I called upon the chief demons to give me the strength to do this because I knew I couldn't do it on my own. I said if you'll give me the power to do this, give me the fame and the recognition, and I'll do this for you.

ROBERTS (voice-over): His lawyers were convinced, the jury would agree he was insane at the time of the murder. Chapman ignored them. CHAPMAN: I have had touches of schizophrenia and paranoia, there's no question about it. But I don't think I was under the control of that when I shot Lennon.

ROBERTS: Against his attorney's advice, Chapman pleaded guilty, he was sentenced to 20 years to life. His new home, Attica prison outside Buffalo, New York. For now, Chapman remains in solitary confinement. Gloria still his wife flies in from Hawaii for yearly conjugal visits. Despite Chapman's claims to have found God and lost the demons that drove him to kill Lennon, he's been denied parole six times.

Thirty years later, Yoko Ono still lives at the Dakota, every day walking past the place where her husband was shot.

GRUEN: Life goes on and Yoko is a source of strength for all of us to go on, to continue with our lives and to not just stop and fall apart.

ROBERTS: Something son Julian has tried to do, despite never knowing what could have been.

JULIAN LENNON: He obviously was trying to reach out later in life, no question about it. And he knew that, you know, I still was longing for that relationship with him.

ROBERTS (on camera): Do you feel cheated that you were denied that opportunity?

JULIAN LENNON: Of course I do. I mean no question about it. It's beyond sadness that he's not around, obviously. But there's nothing anybody can do about that. You know, so one just takes the love that you've had with that person and you remember and the fondness that you have of that person and you carry that forward.

ROBERTS (voice-over): A love and a life still remembered, still celebrated, still echoed in the poignant final words of John Lennon on the last day of his life.

JOHN LENNON: I consider that my work won't be finished until I'm dead and buried and I hope that's a long, long time.