John Lennon Killer Also Considered Shooting Johnny Carson, Elizabeth Taylor

Told parole board about list of alternate victims, Lennon plot details.

ByABC News
September 16, 2010, 7:10 PM

Sept. 16, 2010 — -- The man who killed John Lennon in 1980 considered killing Johnny Carson or Elizabeth Taylor instead, but settled upon Lennon because he seemed to be the most accessible target on his list.

Mark David Chapman, 55, told a parole board Sept. 7 that there were other names on his list of potential targets, but he can't recall who they were, according to a transcript of the parole hearing, after which Chapman's parole was denied for a sixth time.

"I was going through that in my mind the other day; I knew you would ask that," he said via videoconference from Attica prison in New York. "Johnny Carson was one of them. Elizabeth Taylor. I lose memory of perhaps the other two.

"If it wasn't Lennon, it could have been someone else," he said.

Chapman, who first became eligible for parole in 2000, is serving a sentence of 20 years to life after shooting Lennon four times outside the Dakota apartment building in New York on Dec. 8, 1980. He next will be eligible for a hearing in August 2012.

Chapman has mentioned a list of potential targets in the past. But when he named names at his 2000 hearing, they were blacked out in the publicly released version of the transcript.

In past interviews, however, Chapman spoke of considering Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as a target, the Associated Press reported. And in a 1987 interview in People magazine, he revealed other potential targets such as Lennon's former Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney, actor George C. Scott, then-Hawaii Gov. George Ariyoshi and then-President Ronald Reagan, the AP reported.

Chapman told the parole board this month that Lennon, Carson, Taylor and the others made the list because "they are famous; that was it," and he thought that by killing them he would achieve "instant noteriety, fame."

"It wasn't about them, necessarily," Chapman said. "It was just about me; it was all about me at that time.

"I felt that by killing John Lennon I would become somebody," he said, "and instead of that I became a murderer and murderers are not somebodies.

"I made a horrible decision to end another human being's life for reasons of selfishness, and that was my decision at that time," he said.

He suggested he may have turned homicidal after feeling suicidal.

Sections of the transcript relevant to his psychological condition and diagnoses are partially blacked out, but he told the parole board, "Instead of taking my life I took somebody else's, which was unfortunate."