From adoring fan, to deranged assassin, what drove Mark David Chapman to kill John Lennon? And what might have stopped him? This Friday, Dateline NBC will air a documentary on the music legend's life and legacy that explores the events that led to that fateful day when a generation's voice was silenced. The broadcast features audiotapes of Lennon's killer, Mark Chapman in 1991 to 1992. Former Beatle Paul McCartney tells Dateline what he remembers most about John.
Along with personal accounts by those first on the scene the night of his murder— including Chapman's arresting officer and the emergency room doctor who operated on John Lennon, the report includes exclusive interviews with a fan who happened to spend the day with Chapman at the Dakota, and the woman who fell in love with a man who later turned out to be a killer.
NBC's Hoda Kotb reports in the exclusive two-hour, special edition of "Dateline NBC," to air on Friday, Nov. 18 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET).
Below are excerpts from the Chapman audiotapes:
On the day he murdered John Lennon
Mark David Chapman: It's kind of cold and there's a little wind and I somehow knew that this was it, that this was the day. And all of a sudden from way across on Central Park West I see a limo. And I know that, that it's him, I have this incredible feeling. And John Lennon's car pulled up. I heard a voice in my head, saying 'do it, do it, do it'. And as he passed me I pulled out the gun, aimed at his back and pulled the trigger five times in succession.
Why he hated Lennon
Chapman: There was a successful man who kind of had the world on a chain so to speak and there I was not even a link of that chain, just a person who had no personality. And something in me just broke.
His initial thoughts about murdering Lennon
Chapman: I was sitting cross-legged on the carpet of my apartment. And I remember opening up the Sgt. Pepper album. And 'The Catcher in the Rye' was very prominent... And I remember saying in my mind 'what if I killed him?' And I remember thinking perhaps my identity would be found in the killing of John Lennon.
Why he went ahead with the murder
Chapman: I was under total compulsion. I'm thoroughly convinced in my, in my conscience and in my heart that there was nothing I could do beyond that point to help myself, totally convinced of that.... it was like a train, a runaway train, there was no stopping it. No matter... nothing could have stopped me.