Gloria Hiroko Chapman has revealed husband Mark told her he was going to murder John Lennon two months before he shot dead the Beatle on his New York doorstep. But she claimed he never carried out the threat at the time because of his love for her and insisted he had dumped the gun he was going to use. Yet as soon as news came through that Lennon had been killed, Gloria said she knew Chapman was the assassin. Now she is hoping that after 38 years behind bars, her husband may soon be free as he faces a parole hearing for the 10th time. Gloria, 67, said: “It didn’t matter how long Mark was in prison. I would wait for him.” Gloria Hiroko Chapman and Mark Chapman snapped in December 2014. Father-of-two John Lennon was just 40 years old when he was killed.
She has had to wait nearly four decades so far, after Chapman, 63, was given 20 years to life for murdering Lennon on December 8, 1980. But she told how she has still been allowed to have sex with him during prison visits in a caravan on the grounds. Gloria was 5,000 miles away at home in Kailua, Hawaii, when the devastating news came in that the 40-year-old was dead. She said: “I knew it was Mark. How did I know? Two months earlier, Mark had travelled to New York. “He came home scared, telling me that to make a name for himself he had planned to kill Lennon. But he said my love had saved him.” Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon of The Beatles in 1963. Gloria knew Chapman was planning to return to New York but she had no idea he was on a murder mission for real this time. She added: “The only reason I was OK with Mark making another trip was because I had believed him when he said he needed to grow up as an adult and husband, and needed time to think about his life. “He wanted me to sacrifice being alone for a short time so that we could have a long, happy marriage together. “He said he threw the gun into the ocean, and I believed him. “But he had lied to me.” Along with music fans across the world, Gloria was stunned when reports of Lennon’s death flashed across screens. The .38 calibre handgun used by Mark David Chapman to kill John Lennon. She said: “December 8, 1980, was one of the darkest nights of my life. I remember it was a Monday. “I had come home from work, fixed dinner, and was watching Little House on the Prairie. On the show, Mary had just found out she’d become blind when suddenly, words ran across the bottom of the screen: ‘John Lennon has been shot in New York City by a male Caucasian.’ “My life changed dramatically that night. “I was now Mrs Mark David Chapman, the wife of a murderer and not just any murderer but one whose victim was known and loved by millions around the world.” Mark David Chapman posing for his original mugshot when he was arrested for the murder
After her husband was arrested, Gloria’s friends urged her to divorce him. The killer himself even told her to leave. But, by now deeply religious, she refused, citing the vows they exchanged when married on June 2, 1979. Speaking through her church, former travel agent Gloria said: “I admit when I got lonely and depressed in that first year of being apart from him, I thought maybe divorce was the right thing to do. “Ultimately, I prayed and searched the Bible to read what God says about divorce. “Finally, in the book of Malachi, I read, ‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel.’ “That settled it, and I closed my Bible. From that point on, I decided I would wait for Mark.” Gloria Chapman lives on the east coast of Hawaii. Gloria’s devotion to killer Chapman comes despite admitting she was violently abused during their one year of marriage. And he cut her off entirely for a year, while not allowing her to see him in jail for almost four. The couple met in early 1978 in Hawaii. She was 26 and, like Chapman, dedicated her life to the church and hospitals. He was 22 and a maintenance worker at Castle Medical Center in Kailua. A year earlier he had travelled to Hawaii on a one-way ticket before trying to gas himself inside his car. But the vacuum cleaner hose he had used melted in the exhaust and the attempt failed. Chapman was admitted to the hospital where he worked, but made what his psychiatrist and the unit’s staff perceived as a rapid recovery. Gloria told how their love grew after that first meeting. John Lennon signs an autograph for a man later identified as Mark David Chapman the night before he returned to shoot him. She said: “As I was a travel agent, he wanted my help to plan a vacation around the world. My love for Mark began and grew with each postcard I received. When Mark returned to Hawaii I met him at the airport. “We started dating the following night. By the end of that year, Mark and I felt as though we had known each other forever.
“We talked about everything, including his mental illness and how he had come to Hawaii to kill himself and ended up at a local hospital’s psychiatric ward. “He explained that he had gotten well enough to get a job at the hospital as a housekeeper. It seemed to me his mental illness was behind him.” Mark David Chapman, now 55, posing for a mugshot. But Gloria said her husband soon started to change. Speaking to The Alliance, a “Christian-centred global movement”, she added: “First, Mark lost his new job at the hospital after a run-in with a nursing supervisor. “He got angry with me more easily, and on a couple of occasions he hurt me physically. He started drinking and came home drunk. But I took our vows seriously. “I said I will love Mark ‘for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sickness, and in health, so long as we both shall live.’” For the past 25 years, Gloria and Chapman have only been allowed to spend 44 hours each year together during conjugal visits, holed up in the caravan. She said they spend their time making pizzas, watching Wheel of Fortune on TV and making love. Chapman’s parole hearing is due to be held the week starting August 20. How the Mirror covered Lennon’s shooting in 1980. And Gloria hopes, despite objections from Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono, her wait to have him home is a few weeks from ending. Recently, the New York State parole board has been more willing to place heavier emphasis on an inmate’s behaviour behind bars than focus on the severity of the crime. As a result, several police killers and other notorious murderers who had been long denied parole have been set free. Gloria has been praying for Chapman’s release. He was denied freedom at the last hearing in 2016 after officials said he would re-offend. But they commended his “acceptance” that his crime was “premeditated and evil”. And Chapman has told his wife to have faith in his freedom. Gloria said: “Mark often says, ‘All I need is Jesus.’ And it’s true.”