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CNN SPECIAL REPORTS
Killing John Lennon. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired December 8, 2015 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The following is a CNN Special Report.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A legend, a man of peace, face to face with a man of hate.
MARK DAVID CHAPMAN, JOHN LENNON'S ASSASSIN: I stepped off the curb, walked, turned, I took the gun and just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.
PHILLIPS: John Lennon gunned down at his doorstep. The world stunned.
CHAPMAN: I felt these horrible feelings, powerful. They were evil.
PHILLIPS: 35 years later, exclusive jailhouse recordings.
CHAPMAN: I was on a very fast-moving rollercoaster and there was just no stopping it.
PHILLIPS: Rare interviews with Lennon's family, friends, those who were there.
JULIAN LENNON, SON OF JOHN LENNON: Hard to imagine it was reality.
PHILLIPS: Speak out.
Do you think he's insane?
KIM HOGREFE, FORMER MANHATTAN ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: No, I do not.
CHAPMAN: I'm sorry I'm such a mess.
PHILLIPS: "Killing John Lennon."
CHAPMAN: You didn't have to feel obligated to come today. I'm sorry I'm such a mess. I mean, I feel really bad about not shaving for you, you know, and I just -- I barely got out of bed about half an hour ago.
PHILLIPS: This is the voice of a murderer, the voice of the man who killed John Lennon.
CHAPMAN: If you'd had told me a year previous you're going to murder someone, anyone, I would say, "My goodness, there's no way."
JIM GAINES, JOURNALIST: I honestly never met someone as out of touch with reality as he was.
PHILLIPS: Was he crazier than you thought?
GAINES: He was a lot crazier than I thought, yeah.
PHILLIPS: Journalist Jim Gaines spent hundreds of hours with Mark David Chapman at Attica Prison in the early '80s.
CHAPMAN: I have something to tell you, the demons I had these things going on in me.
PHILLIPS: The voices you'll hear in this hour are exclusive recordings of their conversations.
GAINES: I remember the first time I met him, he was telling me that this murder was meant to be from before time.
PHILLIPS: Were you thinking, "Oh my gosh, what am I getting myself into?"
GAINES: What have I gotten myself into, exactly. He sat at the table and he was clearing crumbs that didn't exist from the table, all the time we were talking. And when he answered a question and actually made eye contact, it was like he was not looking at me, he was looking through me. I knew that I was dealing with someone who was not ordinary.
PHILLIPS: Yet that didn't intimidate Gaines.
GAINES: I spent more time than any sane person would have done.
PHILLIPS: So why did you do it?
GAINES: Because John Lennon was murdered and he was important to me. I think he was important to everybody in my generation and to find out, you know, why. And I was -- I felt very lucky that I was able to interview him, not because of him but because he wasn't talking to anyone else.
PHILLIPS: But that all changed. Once Chapman started talking to Gaines one winter day in 1983, he wouldn't stop.
CHAPMAN: I'm able to face it now. I have strength to face the murder now.
PHILLIPS: A murder no one saw coming.
It was summer in the Strawberry Fields of John Lennon's New York.
DAVID SHEFF, WRITER: He did love New York and it was so much fun to be there with him.
PHILLIPS: Writer David Sheff spent three weeks round the clock with John Lennon writing an article in August 1980.
SHEFF: You think that John Lennon of all people would have, you know, security guards all around. But that's not what he was all about. I mean, we walked in Central Park all the time and he walked up and down the streets.
PHILLIPS: Would people stop him, mob him, grab at or say anything?
SHEFF: The New Yorkers are kind of cool and jaded so people were respectful. They would say hi to him, "Hey, John. How are you doing? I love your music."
JULIAN LENNON: It was definitely an energy and the freedom here that he was unable to find elsewhere.
PHILLIPS: A freedom to son Julian Lennon from the intensity of Beatlemania.
JULIAN LENNON: When the Beatles took out in the early days, he was out on the road and they were propelled through the roof, you know.
[21:05:03] SHEFF: Here he was, you know, the rock 'n' roll god, the rock 'n' roll prince. More money than he ever could have imagined, more fame than anyone could imagine. You know, the ability as an artist to be able to express himself and to create more than any other artist ever. And yet he was still so deeply unhappy.
PHILLIPS: That would all change for Lennon when his son, Sean, was born in 1975.
SHEFF: He finally came home and decided to just stay home, to hide from the public. But to have a very full life that involved things that people could not have imagined of John Lennon.
JOHN LENNON: Yeah, 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.
PHILLIPS: After five years as a self-described house husband, Sean started school and John started self-reflection. He took up sailing and after weeks of intense lessons found himself on a trip to Bermuda in the middle of a fierce squall.
JACK DOUGLAS, RECORD PRODUCER: At some point during a storm, he took the helm and it was almost life threatening.
PHILLIPS: Jack Douglas, a record producer and close friend says it was an awakening that turned a near-death experience into the rebirth of Lennon's music.
DOUGLAS: You become more appreciative of 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."
PHILLIPS: Lennon would safely reach a sandy beach in Bermuda. Alone and isolated, he wrote and recorded these demos for what would become his final and most emotional work. "Double Fantasy" and "Milk and Honey."
DOUGLAS: He's playing acoustic guitar and singing into a boom box. It was actually incredible, it was magical.
PHILLIPS: Magical and prophetic. Along with Lennon's new found inspiration came an eerie sense of his own mortality.
DOUGLAS: He talked about it quite often. I've never worked with an artist that had a sense of his own demise.
PHILLIPS: As Lennon contemplated death, a man with voices in his head was lurking in the shadows.
Coming up, Chapman counts down to the day he would murder John Lennon.
CHAPMAN: I was on a very fast-moving rollercoaster and there was just no stopping it.
[21:11:47] CHAPMAN: Now this is where I'm guilty and where I'm wrong because months earlier I could have prevented it, I could have stopped and I didn't. I wanted to kill him.
PHILLIPS: It was two months before John Lennon's murder, fall 1980. Honolulu, Hawaii, the island Mark David Chapman called home.
CHAPMAN: I wasn't a Hinckley type, I wasn't an Oswald type, I wasn't a Manson type. I wasn't any of those types. I was a very sensitive person.
PHILLIPS: And on the surface, seemingly happy, married an avid churchgoer. But in Chapman's twisted mind, hidden from view was torment and anger.
GLORIA ABE, WIFE OF MARK DAVID CHAPMAN: It was really miserable.
PHILLIPS: The marriage was miserable and Chapman was abusive, says his wife Gloria, in an exclusive recording obtained during our investigation.
ABE: I must have said something sarcastic, so then he hit me real hard like on my ear. I had to sit down it was so bad.
VANCE HUNTER, CHAPMAN CHILDHOOD FRIEND: His dad was a bit on the violent side.
PHILLIPS: A violent dad. Chapman's friend, Vance Hunter, witnessed the abuse when they were teens.
HUNTER: Mark's father would come out and use a closed fist.
PHILLIPS: Dad would punch him?
HUNTER: Yes, well, yeah, punch him in the face or in the stomach and you know, he was violent.
PHILLIPS: Violence, Vance said, Mark soon mirrored when they played army with toy soldiers. HUNTER: He would either pull the arms off, he would talk to them and he would act like they were talking back to him. And a lot of times he would take a match and set it on fire, set one of them on fire.
PHILLIPS: An extreme and vivid imaginary life that journalist Jim Gaines says Chapman wrote about.
So let's talk about his notebook. What's this chief of staff and how he's made this diagram?
GAINES: So this -- these are the little people who run his life. This is the chief of staff and all the undersecretaries. It's not a fantasy to him. This is reality to him. He has these -- this committee in his head that governs his life.
PHILLIPS: A committee, Gaines described, that guided Chapman toward John Lennon.
CHAPMAN: I've always wanted to be a Beatle, you know, since I was young, well I was, man, what would it be like to be a Beatle?
PHILLIPS: He couldn't get enough of their music, in particular, the White album, and his favorite song.
Would Mark play the same song over and over again?
HUNTER: Yes, sometimes. One evening I came up to see him after dinner and he was in his room and the strangest thing is that he had the volume cranked up all the way and he was laying on the floor with the two speakers by each ear turned up as loud as it could go.
PHILLIPS: And as the Beatles started getting into drugs, so did Chapman, eventually LSD. His hallucinations so intense, Vance said at one point Mark said he was John Lennon.
[21:15:08] HUNTER: He was psychotic. He had become a completely different person.
PHILLIPS: Chapman became delusional.
HUNTER: Jesus had talked to him.
PHILLIPS: And what did Jesus tell him?
HUNTER: And Jesus told him to change his ways.
MILES MCMANUS, HIGH SCHOOL FRIEND OF MARK DAVID CHAPMAN: He changed and he decided, you know, on religion, he didn't just go to church on Sunday and try to live a better life, he just became what we called a Jesus freak.
PHILLIPS: But that became a problem, says high school friend Miles McManus, when Chapman discovered an old quote by John Lennon, famously proclaiming the Beatles 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. He even said he changed the words to "Imagine" to say "Imagine if John were dead."
PHILLIPS: Chapman's anger would get the best of him. A couple of years later, he rejected religion, dropped out of college, dumped his girlfriend and moved to Hawaii.
Adrift and alone, he attempted suicide by hooking a hose up to his exhaust pipe and sticking it in his window.
CHAPMAN: I just gave up. I was praying in the car and the gas was running. I was content. I was ready to go.
GAINES: He just felt he'd been a failure and he'd amounted to nothing. I think he was depressed for years.
PHILLIPS: But some believed Chapman had other motives. Like Former District Attorney Kim Hogrefe, who rarely gives interviews.
HOGREFE: Did he really intend to kill himself or was this something that was designed to bring attention to himself? He engaged in conduct to bring attention to himself.
PHILLIPS: That suicide attempt got him the attention of one young woman, a 26-year-old named Gloria, a volunteer at the hospital where he sought treatment. They started dating and married in 1979. But for Chapman, the marriage offered no honeymoon from his demons. Just months later, his frenzied descent down the path to murder began.
GAINES: You don't usually get this kind of primary document. And the fact that he had it was extraordinary to me.
PHILLIPS: Chapman kept a detailed calendar of the manic months leading to Lennon's death.
GAINES: You can almost see the progression of his illness in the increasing chaos of this calendar.
PHILLIPS: Many days were spent at the library obsessed with the cult classic "Catcher In The Rye" and its main character Holden Caulfield.
CHAPMAN: I really identified with him. You know, his plight, his loneliness, his alienation from society.
PHILLIPS: And Holden's fixation with people being fake.
CHAPMAN: Well, it was during that time that I read the book about Lennon and read the Catcher then it just all melted into one, Holden and John Lennon.
PHILLIPS: Chapman began to see Lennon as a phony, a man who sang about a perfect world with no possessions.
Yet was also rich and extraordinarily privileged.
CHAPMAN: I believe that I turned all my anger about what had happened to me on Lennon. I saw him being a phony and then buying it, people buying it.
GAINES: He was Holden Caulfield, the "Catcher In The Rye" and the catcher in the rye catches children before they are corrupted by life. He put himself in the position of being the person who would save the world from the corruption of John Lennon.
PHILLIPS: And in Chapman's mind, there was only one way to do that.
Coming up, a killer leaves for New York City, a gun in hand and murder on his mind.
[21:22:56] PHILLIPS: Fall 1980. It felt to John Lennon like his life was just beginning.
"Starting Over," his first single in years, was released six weeks before his murder.
SHEFF: This burst of creativity that, you know, he felt was just -- he felt renewed.
PHILLIPS: Renewed, according to journalist David Sheff, after hitting rock bottom years earlier.
SHEFF: He drank, he did drugs. He called it the lost weekend and he was out of his mind, out of control. He got really low and he talked about going through the eye of a needle. And he said coming out of other side, you know, he was changed forever.
LAURIE KAYE, MUSIC PRODUCER: He was getting the, "new lease on life," where he really felt maybe coming to his own.
PHILLIPS: With new songs like "Cleanup Time", Lennon told producer Laurie Kaye all about it in the last radio interview he gave. We listened to it together.
JOHN LENNON: We feel like this is just a start, Nancy. "Double Fantasy", this is our first album, I feel like nothing happened before today.
PHILLIPS: Wow, he said "This is just the start."
KAYE: Yeah, that's what got me. Because it was in his mind, you know, who knows, that was just the jumping off point.
PHILLIPS: Jumping off with new music and a new album, "Double Fantasy."
Were people excited that he was coming out with new music?
KAYE: Anybody who had ever been a Beatle fan was because it was like he had fallen off the face of the earth in a lot of ways and if you didn't live near the Dakota in New York, you didn't know if he was still around.
PHILLIPS: But Mark David Chapman sure knew. Thousands of miles away in Hawaii.
CHAPMAN: I felt these horrible feelings. Powerful. They were evil.
[21:25:01] GAINES: He would sit in his living room when his wife was at work, he would get naked and sit on the floor and play Beatles music really loudly and pray to Satan to give him the strength to murder John Lennon.
PHILLIPS: By the end of October, he said he had the strength but no one seemed to notice.
DON BLUM, FORMER BOSS OF MARK DAVID CHAPMAN: 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.
PHILLIPS: Even, says his boss, Don Blum, when Chapman quit his job as a security guard and left his final day.
BLUM: He signed out as John Lennon.
PHILLIPS: No one noticed the signature.
October 29th, armed with thousands of dollars and a .38 caliber gun, Chapman flew from Hawaii to New York City. His personal calendar reveals a disturbed killer on the move, changing hotels three times in three days, hiring prostitutes, living it up like a man with no future.
CHAPMAN: I went to front row plays, you know, $40 carriage rides. Taxis all over, limos all over the place, first class flights. Filet mignon at the Waldorf.
PHILLIPS: All just blocks from Lennon's home. But it turns out John Lennon wasn't Chapman's only target.
HOGREFE: He wasn't interested in committing a murder just so that you'd read about them in the press one day when he was arrested. He wanted to kill a celebrity and killing a celebrity means that you in essence steal that individual's celebrity.
PHILLIPS: Like Johnny Carson, Elizabeth Taylor, George C. Scott.
HOGREFE: He had gotten front row tickets for George C. Scott's one- man show at the time, and he claimed that he was going to take his gun out during the middle of the show, stand up and shoot into the body of George C. Scott. He wasn't able to buy the bullets for the gun.
PHILLIPS: Because it was illegal for Chapman, a Hawaii resident to buy bullets in New York City, so on November 5th, Chapman flew to his hometown Atlanta to meet an old friend, a police officer.
CHAPMAN: I think I told him that I need it for protection. He gave me five extra charge. They were hollow points.
HOGREFE: When a hollow point bullet strikes its target, it opens up and it maximizes the damage it does once it enters into the body. This was not someone who would intent upon injuring somebody or harming them. It was someone who was planning to use those bullets to kill someone.
PHILLIPS: But Chapman didn't use those bullets to kill, not yet.
CHAPMAN: There was part of me that night that did not want to shoot John Lennon. And I called my wife and I said, I said "I'm coming home," I said, "I was going to kill John Lennon."
ABE: He had finally realized what I meant to him and finally understood something, and he's ready to come home.
PHILLIPS: Home to his wife Gloria in mid-November.
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'm going to do. My God, you know, I still have deep-seated resentment that she didn't go to somebody.
PHILLIPS: Why wouldn't she do something?
GAINES: She was very devoted person and very religious. So she was that impressionable. Credulous, you could say.
PHILLIPS: Gloria believed her husband was going to counseling. He didn't. Chapman was beyond help.
CHAPMAN: Once the plan was in gear, I couldn't stop it, even though it ebbed for a few weeks.
PHILLIPS: Next, a cold-blooded killer goes back to New York and comes face to face with John Lennon's son.
JERI MOLL, JOHN LENNON FAN: Chapman reached around to shake Sean's hand.
[21:33:14] YOKO ONO, WIFE OF JOHN LENNON: It was a very strange weekend, a whole different dimension of the air that was around us.
PHILLIPS: Yoko Ono sensed something wasn't right with her husband. The weekend was December 8, 1980 and John was recording Yoko's "Walking On Thin Ice." It would be his last session.
ONO: I said, "John, are you all right?" Because John was playing "Walking On Thin Ice" over and over and over again all night and all day. I said, why is he doing that?
PHILLIPS: Lennon had one thing on his mind, and so did Mark David Chapman.
CHAPMAN: Lennon was an obsession to kill. It had to be done. Nothing could have stopped it. I was out of control.
PHILLIPS: So that first weekend in December, Chapman returned to New York, this time with bullets and a blueprint for murder. He checked into the YMCA, blocks from Lennon's home and then headed right to the Dakota.
MOLL: It was a nice, sunny day but it was cold.
PHILLIPS: Jeri Moll and her friend Jude Stein were there when Chapman arrived.
MOLL: He spoke quietly. He wasn't vulgar in any way. He said that he was there to see John. He just said that he wanted to meet him because he was a Beatles fan and it was always his dream to meet John.
PHILLIPS: But John was nowhere to be seen. So Chapman went to buy Lennon's newest album and then returned to the Dakota.
MOLL: He was out there waving the album. Very excited that he had it.
[21:35:01] "I got it, I got it." And he said, "Do you think John would sign it?" I said, "Maybe he would sign it for you." Very positively he said, "Oh, OK, OK, so he is nice?" I said, "Absolutely."
PHILLIPS: Chapman never got the autograph that night, and he didn't get a glimpse of Lennon either. December 7th, the night before the killing, Chapman spent his evening reading "Playboy" magazines featuring John Lennon's first interview in five years.
GAINES: It just confirmed a feeling that had been building in him for a long time, ever since he first began to listen to and then have very conflicting feelings about the Beatles, and this fueled his idea that Lennon was a phony who had to die.
PHILLIPS: Chapman was ready.
CHAPMAN: That morning I left the hotel room, I knew what was going to happen that day. I just knew it.
HOGREFE: Before he left, he put a display in the hotel and it had -- it had his passport, it had photographs from when he had worked at the YMCA, it had it other mementos of his life.
PHILLIPS: A display that would make it easy it identify him as Lennon's killer.
HOGREFE: And it was like his way of saying, "Look at me, I'm important."
PHILLIPS: Once the scene was set, Chapman left to stake out the Dakota again. He first saw Sean Lennon and his nanny.
MOLL: 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?"
PHILLIPS: While Sean was outside the Dakota, inside his father was getting ready for his last interview ever.
KAYE: He was so real. He was so incredibly real. He wasn't a rock star.
PHILLIPS: Laurie Kaye produced the six-hour interview.
So you arrive at the Dakota. What was your first impression?
KAYE: Where did he sit but right on the love seat next to me. So, you know, for the next couple hours, it's like that's John Lennon, he's sitting next to me and he's looking at me through his John Lennon glasses.
PHILLIPS: And then came the moment Kay says she will never forget.
KAYE: When we were talking about him and Yoko and he said, "I hope to God that I die before Yoko because I don't know what I would do if she left before I did." In other words, he couldn't continue without her. And...
PHILLIPS: After an emotional afternoon, Lennon headed to the recording studio for the last time, and Mark David Chapman waited outside.
GAINES: Chapman had the "Double Fantasy" album with him and asked Lennon to sign it. I said, "Mark, how did that feel?" He said, "I was just so excited to see him." He was just a fan.
PHILLIPS: But also a killer. Lennon jumped into a limo. Laurie Kaye stayed behind. Mark Chapman caught her off guard.
KAYE: Immediately said, "Who are you? Did you talk to him? What did you talk about? Did you get an you a graph?" It was beyond fandom. It was, it was creepy.
PHILLIPS: Did you think that he could be dangerous in any way? Did that ever cross your mind?
KAYE: Not at all.
PHILLIPS: But she wishes it had.
KAYE: What if I had said go home, stop bugging me, go home, go away. Leave John alone? What if, what if, what if, you know.
PHILLIPS: Chapman could not be stopped.
CHAPMAN: I think the whole thing was planned out, yeah. It was predestined to happen.
PHILLIPS: So he waited. And waited. Six more hours until Lennon finished his recording session and returned home. It was 10:30 p.m.
CHAPMAN: I remember a black limousine pulling up.
PHILLIPS: When we come back, the moment Chapman was waiting for. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[21:43:24] CHAPMAN: It was a warm night, it was a warm night for December.
PHILLIPS: A warm night shattered by a cold blooded killer.
CHAPMAN: I was on a very fast-moving rollercoaster, and there was just no stopping it.
PHILLIPS: Mark David Chapman had been waiting for days, planning for months. Now it was time. December 8, 1980, 10:50 p.m., outside John Lennon's apartment building.
CHAPMAN: The car pulled up and then Yoko got out. And something in the back of my mind was going do it, do it, do it, do it, over and over. Lennon got out, do it. I stepped off the curb, walked, turned, I took the gun out and just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.
PHILLIPS: Five shots from Mark David Chapman's .38 caliber revolver. Doorman, Jose Perdomo rushed Lennon's killer.
CHAPMAN: He shook the gun out of my hand and then he kicked the gun across the pavement. He shook me out of my shock. It hit me like a airplane would you in the face. You know, what had happened. I really shot this man.
PHILLIPS: Shot him four times.
Why would he shoot somebody in the back?
HOGREFE: Because there's no risk that they're going to defend themselves and that you'll be hurt in the process. Because he was a coward.
PHILLIPS: A coward who wanted to get caught.
HOGREFE: He stood there and he waited. And he waited because he wanted to be arrested because what's the point of committing a celebrity murder if your name isn't associated with it?
[21:45:08] PHILLIPS: It wouldn't take long for that to happen.
HERB FRAUENBERGER, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: A call comes in, shots fired in the vicinity of Central Park West and Columbus Avenue.
PHILLIPS: New York Police Officer Herb Frauenberger was just blocks away from the Dakota.
FRAUENBERGER: It was never a place where you had any police activity, so when you heard it, you know, it was like, wow, this is unusual.
PHILLIPS: Got there quickly.
FRAUENBERGER: Twenty seconds, 30 seconds, a minute. I don't know.
PHILLIPS: The first thing he saw, Mark David Chapman.
FRAUENBERGER: So nonchalant. You know, just so calm. I mean, anybody that puts four bullets in somebody, you know, you would think there'd be a little emotion.
CHAPMAN: Why didn't I jump up and down afterwards, I couldn't do that. It's like all that evil had left me, and left me with the good part and the good part was freaking out.
PHILLIPS: Freaking out as he was handcuffed and put in the back of a police car. Nearby, John Lennon was bleeding out, dying.
FRAUENBERGER: When I saw all the blood, I said no way this guy is alive. I mean, it's the most blood I'd ever seen in one place, and -- but he still had a pulse.
PHILLIPS: And you knew the ambulance wouldn't be there quick enough. What did you say?
FRAUENBERGER: Just said, well, let's pick him up and take him by car.
PHILLIPS: Mark Chapman watched the whole thing. And that wasn't all. Soon after, Chapman says, he was face to face with Yoko Ono.
CHAPMAN: Just utter horror. Just a little bit of anger but mostly just total shock. She just came right up and I just cowered away.
PETE CULLEN, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: She was in total shock.
PHILLIPS: Officer Pete Cullen was also on the scene.
CULLEN: She was like standing there like -- I don't want to use the word "zombie" but in that vein. And the only words I heard say was when she said to me, "Can I go, too?" and I said, "Sure."
PHILLIPS: Chapman was left at the crime scene.
CHAPMAN: They left me alone in the car, n the back, which frightened the heck of me. I kept thinking someone was going to shoot me, kill me.
CULLEN: While we were driving from the scene into the stationhouse, he apologized for giving us a hard time and ruining our night. And that struck me when he said that. I said, "You got to be kidding." I said, "You're apologizing for ruining -- you know, you just ruined your whole life."
PHILLIPS: In a small cell at the 20th Precinct, the enormity of what Chapman had done finally hit him.
CHAPMAN: They put me in a bullpen, with people or radios were squawking, people were looking at me when I cam in. and I remember saying, you know, this is it. I said this can't be happening, you know? This is awful. I said, God help me.
PHILLIPS: But no one could help Chapman. And we'd soon learn no one could help John Lennon either.
Emergency room doctors desperately tried to save Lennon, even massaging his heart by hand but there was little blood to pump through his lifeless body.
FRAUENBERGER: I opened the door, and they were massaging his heart. You know, so and you never want to see that. Because that basically means it stopped, so...
PHILLIPS: You're getting emotional.
FRAUENBERGER: Yeah. I don't know, I guess it's just -- brings back memories.
PHILLIPS: John Lennon was pronounced dead at about 11:10 p.m. Emergency room director Dr. Steven Lynn, told Yoko Ono.
DR. STEVEN LYNN, EMERGENCY ROOM DIRECTOR: I walked into the room and relatively calmly, matter-of-factly said, "We tried our best to resuscitate him but in spite of all of our efforts, John Lennon died. She yelled and screamed, "No, it can't be."
PHILLIPS: She didn't want to believe it.
LYNN: No one would want to believe it.
PHILLIPS: Not even the man who did it.
CHAPMAN: I couldn't believe it was happening, you know. This is a nightmare. It was utter chaos.
PHILLIPS: When we come back, a legend lost, a world demands justice.
[21:53:09] CHAPMAN: During the first hours, it was just utter panic. It hit me like a tidal wave what had happened.
PHILLIPS: A crushing tidal wave quickly hit around the world.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former Beatle John Lennon has been shot at his Manhattan apartment tonight. Police say that...
PHILLIPS: It was December 9th, 1980, John Lennon was dead, and his wife Yoko was in shock.
FRAUENBERGER: It was 300 reporters out front.
PHILLIPS: Police were frantically trying to get Yoko from the hospital home to her 5-year-old son Sean.
FRAUENBERGER: We took her around the back and we got her into the limo and that's how she got out of there.
PHILLIPS: What's the last thing you said to her?
FRAUENBERGER: Just sorry we couldn't do it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From the time the news broke of Lennon's death, New Yorkers began streaming to the Dakota apartment.
PHILLIPS: By the time Yoko arrived home, fans had filled the streets.
JULIAN LENNON: It is hard to imagine it was reality. Still to this day I guess in so many ways it still feels like a dream.
PHILLIPS: More than 3,000 miles away in England, then 17-year-old Julian Lennon was just waking up when he got the news. He immediately flew to New York.
JULIAN LENNON: Every person on the plane had the newspaper of dad's, you know, picture and John Lennon slain, murdered, da-di-da-di-da. And that was a toughy, that was a toughy.
PHILLIPS: Julian went right to the Dakota for a tearful reunion with his 5-year-old brother, Sean.
JULIAN LENNON: This was going to be tough on a little boy that had a great deal of love coming from his father.
PHILLIPS: As Lennon's family and friends mourned, his killer sat in jail.
[21:55:10] CHAPMAN: I was very worried about my safety.
PHILLIPS: First light brought the first look at Chapman when he was moved to the courthouse for his arraignment. Chapman felt like a sitting duck.
CHAPMAN: They even let a trustee in to sweep my cell when I was inside of it. I couldn't believe it. And that's when the officer asked me for my autograph and I just said that's wrong to do that
PHILLIPS: Chapman wore a bulletproof vest as he entered the courtroom.
HOGREFE: He was brought out. He stood beside his attorney. I didn't have a strong impression of him one way or the other.
PHILLIPS: Kim Hogrefe was the assistant district attorney in charge of the case.
So what you saw wasn't an obvious psychotic crazy person?
HOGREFE: No. I don't think there was anybody who knew the defendant in this case that felt that he was obviously psychotic, acting out, irrational. There was just no evidence of any of that.
PHILLIPS: Yes Chapman pleaded not guilty. His lawyers ready to use the insanity defense.
JONATHAN MARKS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The only issue in this trial really will be whether or not he was insane at the time of the shooting, and I think that our witnesses will establish that he was.
PHILLIPS: Do you think he's insane?
HOGREFE: No, I do not.
HOGREFE: There was no evidence that we found of any serious mental disorder. He engaged in conduct to bring attention to himself, so he wasn't "normal," but he wasn't entitled under the New York law to insanity defense.
PHILLIPS: In the days, weeks, and months after the shooting, dozens of doctors examined Chapman.
GAINES: The psychiatrists for the defense all said he was insane. The psychiatrists for the prosecution all said he was sane. They seemed to be playing on whatever team that had hired them. One of them even brought books for him to sign, brought copies of the "Catcher In The Rye" for Mark Chapman to sign.
PHILLIPS: Totally unethical.
GAINES: Unbelievable, really.
PHILLIPS: And as Chapman waited to stand trial...
ABE: I mourn the death of John Lennon and feel great sadness for his wife Yoko and his son, Sean.
PHILLIPS: His wife, Gloria stood by her husband.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gloria, do you still love him?
ABE: Yes, very much.
PHILLIPS: June 1981, Chapman went on trial for second degree murder in New York City.
Did you think you were going to win?
HOGREFE: We thought we were ready and we thought we were going to win.
PHILLIPS: But Mark David Chapman had another plan.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mark David Chapman has pleaded guilty by reason of insanity to the murder of John Lennon.
PHILLIPS: To the surprise of everyone in the courtroom, Chapman plead guilty and was sentenced to 20 years to life. He never stood trial.
HOGREFE: My reaction was disappointment. I was disappointed because I thought that there were lessons to be learned from this case.
PHILLIPS: Lessons that Hogrefe still cite 35 years later. HOGREFE: The most common impression that one gets when you hear people talk about the murder of John Lennon, they refer to a crazed Beatle fan. He wasn't crazed.
PHILLIPS: But you're saying the trial would have proved that this was not about a crazed John Lennon fan.
PHILLIPS: This guy was a killer, and he was going to kill anybody just to become famous?
GAINES: Yes, I mean he is guilty of a heinous murder.
PHILLIPS: Do you think he'd kill again?
GAINES: I think it's possible.
CHAPMAN: You never know what's going to happen. I think about that with Lennon a lot.
PHILLIPS: Chapman has been denied parole eight times despite claiming to have found God and to have lost the demons that drove him to kill Lennon.
FRAUENBERGER: Can you imagine being Lennon's family and thinking that this guy is running around the streets, every place you go, you're looking behind you?
PHILLIPS: There's a lot of people that think he doesn't deserve to walk the streets, including you.
FRAUENBERGER: Well, I'm one of them.
PHILLIPS: One of the many who still mourns the loss of a legend, the many who still gather at his Strawberry Fields in Central Park. And the family still moved by his memory.
JULIAN LENNON: It's beyond sadness that he's not around, obviously, but 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.