About this Famous Person
Mark David CHAPMAN
American prison inmate who was convicted of murdering former Beatles member John Lennon on December 8, 1980
Source : Tim DOWLING
Chapman was born in Fort Worth, Texas. His father, David Curtis Chapman, was a staff sergeant in the United States Air Force, and his mother, Kathryn Elizabeth Pease, was a nurse. His younger sister, Susan, was born seven years later. Chapman said that as a child he lived in fear of his father, who he said was physically abusive towards his mother and unloving towards him. He began to fantasize about having king-like power over a group of imaginary "little people" who lived in the walls. He attended Columbia High School in Decatur, Georgia. By the time he was 14, Chapman used drugs (including Heroin, Marijuana and LSD), skipped classes, and once ran away from home to live on the streets for two weeks. He has said he was bullied at school because he was not a good athlete.
In 1971, Chapman became a born again Christian, and distributed Biblical tracts. He met his first girlfriend, another Christian named Jessica Blankenship. He began work as a YMCA summer camp counselor; he was very popular with the children, who nicknamed him "Nemo". He won an award for Outstanding Counselor and was made assistant director. Those who knew him in the caretaking professions unanimously called him an outstanding worker. A friend recommended The Catcher in the Rye to Chapman, and the story eventually took on great personal significance for him, to the extent that he reportedly wished to model his life after its protagonist, Holden Caulfield. After graduating from Columbia High School, Chapman moved for a time to Chicago and played guitar in churches and Christian nightspots while his friend did impersonations. He worked successfully for World Vision with Vietnamese refugees at a resettlement camp at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, after a brief visit to Lebanon for the same work. He was named an area coordinator and a key aide to the program director, David Moore, who later said Chapman cared deeply for the children and worked hard. Chapman accompanied Moore to meetings with government officials, and President Gerald Ford shook his hand.
Chapman joined his girlfriend, Jessica Blankenship, as a student at Covenant College (an evangelical Presbyterian college that emphasizes the liberal arts) in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. However, Chapman fell behind in his studies and became obsessed with guilt over having an affair. He started having suicidal thoughts and began to feel like a failure. He dropped out of Covenant College, and his girlfriend broke off their relationship soon after. He returned to work at the resettlement camp, but left after an argument. Chapman then took a job as a security guard, eventually taking a week-long course that qualified him to be an armed guard. He made another attempt to go to college but dropped out again. He decided to go to Hawaii and then kill himself. In 1977, Chapman attempted suicide via carbon monoxide asphyxiation. He connected a vacuum cleaner hose to his car exhaust pipe and led it inside the car, thus exposing himself to the car's exhaust, but the hose melted in the exhaust pipe and the attempt failed. He was discovered and brought to a local mental health clinic. A psychiatrist admitted him to Castle Memorial Hospital for clinical depression. Upon his release, the hospital hired him part-time. He played guitar for the patients and counseled them. He found a place to live with a Presbyterian minister. His parents began divorce proceedings, and his mother joined Chapman in Hawaii.
In 1978, Chapman went on a six-week trip around the world, inspired partly by the film Around the World in Eighty Days, visiting such places as Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Delhi, Beirut, Geneva, London, Paris, and Dublin. He began a relationship with his travel agent, a Japanese-American woman named Gloria Abe. They married on June 2, 1979. Looking for more money, Chapman got a job at Castle Memorial Hospital as a printer, working alone rather than with staff and patients. He was fired by the Castle Memorial Hospital, rehired, then got into a shouting match with a nurse and quit. He took a job as a night security guard and began drinking heavily. Chapman developed a series of obsessions, including artwork, The Catcher in the Rye, music, and John Lennon, and started talking with the imaginary 'little people' again. In September 1980, he wrote a letter to a friend, Lynda Irish, in which he stated, "I'm going nuts", and signed it "The Catcher in the Rye".
- Category Criminal