NBC Correspondent Hoda Kotb argues that accused killer Chapman is insane.
Response to NBC Dateline’s program
about John Lennon’s murder
Is Mark David Chapman a crazed killer,
or a patsy?
by Salvador Astucia, November 28, 2005
(updated December 5, 2005)
On Friday November 18, 2005, NBC’s Dateline aired a two-hour television segment, "The man who shot John Lennon." (See transcript.) The segment was written by NBC Correspondent Hoda Kotb, an Egyptian-born journalist. Anchors Stone Phillips and Ann Curry did some of the narration, but Ms. Kotb apparently did the research, conducted several interviews and wrote the script, according to MSNBC's website.
As a Lennon and Beatles fan since 1964, and as someone who has researched John Lennon’s murder and written a book on the topic, I watched and listened to Ms. Kotb’s two-hour Dateline segment with great interest. In April 2004, I published a book entitled Rethinking John Lennon’s Assassination: The FBI’s War on Rock Stars. Through careful research and analysis of the crime scene and the nature of Lennon's wounds, I concluded that accused murderer Mark David Chapman did not shoot and kill Lennon. After viewing Ms. Kotb's Dateline segment about the murder, there is no question that I have poked lots of holes in the government’s position that Chapman committed the crime.
A major weakness in Ms. Kotb's segment was she attempted to show Chapman as being insane; however, she gave little attention to the fact that Chapman was judged to be legally sane in 1981 and is being treated as such as a prisoner in Attica prison. It would seem to me that as a journalist, if Ms. Kotb wished to challenge Chapman's mental state, then she should have focused on the person who determined that Chapman was legally sane. That person was Justice Dennis Edwards. Ms. Kotb never mentioned Justice Edwards. Yet she insinuated over and over again that Chapman was insane, despite Justice Edwards' ruling to the contrary.
Chapman's Mental State
On June 22, 1981, Chapman was given a competency hearing
where it was determined by Justice Edwards that he was not legally insane,
and as a consequence, he was sentenced twenty years to
life at Attica State Prison.
Ms. Kotb did not present any of
these facts in her segment. She simply tried to convince viewers that
Chapman was insane. Why would she mislead
viewers about Chapman's mental state? It's really quite obvious. The motive
that Ms. Kotb presented requires Chapman to be insane. She claimed Chapman
killed Lennon to achieve fame himself, to show off. This is the image most
people have of Chapman--a mentally deranged person who stalked Lennon and
killed him in order to become famous. For this motive to be believed,
Chapman must be shown to be insane. If he is sane, then there is no motive.
A sane person would never stalk and kill a celebrity in order to become
famous. Only an insane person would commit such a crime. But Justice Edwards
ruled that Chapman was completely sane. Therefore, we're back to square one
with the motive. What was the true motive for killing John Lennon?
A Stronger Motive
The late Edward Teller, right-wing physicist and father of the H-Bomb, had a stronger motive for killing Lennon than did Chapman. Teller was the driving force behind President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), nicknamed "Star Wars" by critics. Lennon was renowned for his anti-militarism/peace activism and had used his celebrity status in the past to oppose various right-wing causes, most notably U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Teller and other SDI planners must have anticipated that Lennon would oppose SDI once it was made public, so they may have decided to silence him in the early stages of Reagan's administration, before the inauguration in January 1981. Although SDI would not be announced publicly until March 23, 1983, the technology was being developed at the same time Lennon re-entered public life after a four year sabbatical. On November 14, 1980, just three weeks before Lennon's murder, a major SDI test (code-named Dauphin) was conducted in the Nevada Desert, testing laser-nuclear technology. The success of Dauphin set the stage for a trillion-dollar defense buildup in the ensuing years of the Reagan administration.
To read more about Teller's early SDI tests in the fall of 1980, click here:
What about Chapman's confession?
Prior to my book and subsequent articles about Lennon’s murder, most people took it for granted that Chapman was guilty of committing the crime because he confessed immediately. Several people have suggested Chapman may have been a programmed killer (a Manchurian Candidate), but no one besides myself has claimed that Chapman did not shoot Lennon at all. In Manchurian terms, we might call Chapman a "programmed patsy."
Like everyone else, Ms. Kotb assumed Chapman was guilty in her Lennon segment. Obviously, she made the assumption because Chapman confessed to committing the crime. But how reliable are confessions? Most criminal lawyers, judges, police officers, psychiatrists and psychologists will tell you that the false confession is a common phenomenon that occurs for a variety of reasons. In 1966 the United States Supreme Court determined, in Miranda vs. Arizona, that police officers must recite Constitutional rights to anyone arrested for a criminal offense. This was done because the high court feared police coercion of suspects.
The Central Park Jogger
One of the most notorious cases of false confessions in modern times was the case of the Central Park Jogger, a crime that occurred close to Lennon's murder in Manhattan and was also handled by the NYPD. In addition, both cases were handled by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.
On April 19, 1989, a 28-year-old Caucasian female investment banker jogging in Manhattan's Central Park was raped and severely beaten. She lay near death in a coma for 12 days in a hospital. The attack captured headlines around the world as the anonymous "Central Park Jogger" fought to recover from massive injuries that left her near death. Eventually she awoke from the coma, but her severe head injuries left her with no memory of the assault. Over the next months, she had to relearn how to talk, feed herself, think abstractly, and walk. Years later, the anonymous victim revealed her identity, Trisha Meili, in a book she wrote entitled "I am the Central Park Jogger," published in 2004.
Within days after the attack, a group of African American and Hispanic teenage males, between the ages of 14 and 16 were arrested and were eventually convicted for the crime. Their names were Anton McCray (age 15), Raymond Santana (14), Kevin Richardson (14), Kharey Wise (16), and Yusef Salaam (15).
After prolonged periods of police interrogation, four of the defendants gave videotaped and written statements saying they participated in the attack but did not rape or bludgeon the victim themselves. A fifth defendant, Kevin Richardson, professed his innocence. Nevertheless, the boys were found guilty, mainly because of their confessions.
In early 2002, convicted murderer and serial rapist Matias Reyes confessed to the brutal attack on the Central Park Jogger (Trisha Meili) in April, 1989. Reyes' confession was substantiated by DNA identification of his sperm on the victim's clothes. Reyes' confession created quite a stir and was extremely damaging to the credibility of the NYPD and District Attorney Morgenthau, the same bunch whom Chapman had confessed 22 years earlier to murdering John Lennon.
On December 19, 2002, New York State Supreme Court Judge Charles Tejada issued a decision to vacate the convictions of the five defendants convicted beating and raping the Central Park jogger. Judge Tejada's ruling was made at the recommendation of District Attorney Morgenthau who apparently saw it as the only means of saving face in a no win situation.
By the time Judge Tejada made his ruling, the defendants had served their sentences and were released in 1995 and 1997 with the exception of Kharey Wise who remained in prison until Judge Tejada's ruling. Collectively, each defendant served an average of approximately 8 years in prison, although Wise served 11 and a half years.
A great deal has been written about a new word, "wilding," that emerged around the defendants. Wilding is apparently inner city slang for a gang of black juvenile delinquents who get together--sometimes without knowing one another--and attack whites. Some have written that about forty teenagers were wilding in Central Park on the night Trisha Meili was beaten and raped. Some also claim that the five teenage defendants engaged in wilding and may have even attacked Ms. Meili, but did not severely beat or rape her. This is an area where it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. All we know is Judge Tejada vacated the convictions of the five defendants and did not make special sentencing provisions for wilding offenses that may have occurred. In other words, Judge Tejada reversed their convictions, although it was a moot point for all but one defendant, Kharey Wise, who was still incarcerated when Judge Tejada exonerated him. To my knowledge, none of the defendants have received compensation from the state of New York for their incarcerations.
One has to wonder why the authorities were unable to determine whether the Central Park Jogger had been raped by one or more assailants. Some have alleged that the victim's beating was too severe for one person alone to have caused. Analyzing the severity of a beating is not a precise thing to do, but one would think that doctors could easily determine if sperm inside the female victim had originated from more than one male.
The case of the Central Park Jogger damaged the credibility of the NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau a great deal. Yet no one besides myself has compared the false confessions obtained by the NYPD in the Central Park Jogger case to Mark David Chapman's confession in the Lennon case. It seems highly plausible that Chapman's case may have been handled in a similar manner as the cases of Anton McCray, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Kharey Wise, and Yusef Salaam. If a false confession can be rendered by the police and DA for a serious offense, it simplifies the legal process a great deal. This is what occurred with the Central Park Jogger and I believe the exact same thing happened when Mark David Chapman confessed to shooting John Lennon. The same authorities handled both cases.
Who really killed Lennon?
I have concluded that Mark David Chapman is completely innocent. Compelling evidence points to Dakota doorman, Jose Joaquin Sanjenis Perdomo, as Lennon’s true killer. Records reveal a "Jose Joaquin Sanjenis Perdomo" (aliases: "Joaquin Sanjenis" and "Sam Jenis") was an anti-Castro Cuban exile and member of Brigade 2506 during the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961, a failed CIA operation to overthrow Fidel Castro. Perdomo was a professional hit man who worked closely with convicted Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis (deceased) for about ten years on the CIA's payroll.
To read more about Perdomo, click here:
Chapman’s primary accuser was Sean Strub, a questionable individual who openly admitted he was several blocks away from the crime scene when the murder occurred. Conflicting versions of the crime scene and ensuing stellar success of entrepreneur and gay rights activist Strub raise unsettling questions about quid pro quo in a possible government sponsored hit. Quite simply, it appears that special doors might have been opened for Strub by powerful individuals within the United States government in exchange for Strub’s false testimony about Chapman before live television cameras shortly after Lennon was killed.
To read more about Strub, click here:
Despite my research, Ms. Kotb chose to take the extreme position of naming her two hour segment "The man who shot John Lennon," not exactly an open-minded point of view. While some Lennon fans have complained that NBC gave Chapman an opportunity to voice his demented views, I would argue that NBC did everything in its power to portray him as a deranged individual and the lone killer of John Lennon, two points that are highly questionable.
Criticisms of Hoda Kotb’s research
Ms. Kotb seemed to go out of her way to side-step key points of the government’s case against Chapman that I have shown to be faulty both on my website and in my book. Here is a list of her omissions and anomalies. I will elaborate on each point shortly.
Allow me to explain each point raised.
 Ms. Kotb focused ad nauseam on Chapman’s mental state, yet she avoided the basic fact that he was judged to be completely sane and is treated as such in Attica prison in upstate New York. Why the deception about Chapman’s mental condition? In addition, Chapman’s mental condition was determined by a judge in the state of New York, a state that is generally considered to be liberal in such matters.
Ms. Kotb even trotted out Dr. Richard Bloom, a psychologist who interviewed Chapman while his lawyer was preparing to go to trial in 1981. "I diagnosed him as paranoid schizophrenic," Dr. Bloom said. What Ms. Kotb failed to reveal was Dr. Bloom, and several other expert witnesses, were used by Chapman's defense attorney, Jonathan Marks, in 1981, to show that Chapman was legally insane and therefore not responsible for his actions. It was Chapman himself who eventually stepped forward and told Justice Dennis Edwards that he was completely sane and thus responsible for his actions. Once Chapman confessed and dropped the insanity defense, the murder trial was waived and Chapman was sentenced twenty years to life. This is why Chapman is incarcerated at Attica prison today.
According to writer/attorney Fenton Bresler, in his 1989 book, Who Killed John Lennon?, Chapman later changed his mind and granted several interviews in which he attempted to convince people he was insane as part of an effort to be transferred to a mental hospital. This was likely the case when Chapman was interviewed by Jack Jones in 1990. (Note: Tapes from the 1990 interviews are the basis of Hoda Kotb's Dateline segment.)
When listening to a psychiatrist or psychologist, people should remember that their fields are not hard sciences.
As previously stated, Jude Stein described Chapman as "very polite…clean cut" a "down-South boy." Patrolman Peter Cullen said he "looked like a guy who worked in a bank, an office."
Officer Cullen specifically stated that, in his opinion, Chapman was "not a loser or anything, just a guy out there trying to earn a living." These observations from two people who saw Chapman on the night of Lennon’s murder do not fit the image of a deranged killer with mental illness. It is, however, completely consistent with Justice Dennis Edwards’ ruling that Chapman was completely sane and would therefore be treated as a sane person who committed a criminal act. If Ms. Kotb wants to pursue the issue of Chapman’s mental instability, she should also ask why a judge ruled that he was completely sane.
To read the transcript of the competency hearing for Mark David Chapman, June 22, 1981, click here:
Chapman's insanity is crucial to Ms. Kotb's motive that he murdered Lennon to achieve fame for himself. If Chapman was sane, then there is no motive. And if Chapman had no motive, who did? We're back to Edward Teller's successful SDI test in the Nevada Desert on November 14, 1980, just three weeks before Lennon's murder.
To read more about Teller's early SDI tests in the fall of 1980, click here: (previously shown)
 Why didn’t Ms. Kotb mention Chapman’s primary accuser, Sean Strub? Ms. Kotb apparently made a conscious choice not to mention Mr. Strub. He was probably the most vocal crime scene witness; he was quoted by Associated Press and several newspapers including the New York Times. Fenton Bresler cited Strub's observations in the renowned book, Who Killed John Lennon? Mr. Strub seemed to go out of his way to discuss the crime with anyone holding a microphone on the night of the murder. But Strub—by his own admission—was not actually present at the crime scene when the shooting occurred. He was a block or so away and claims he heard the shots and followed police cars to the Dakota. Yet it was Strub, more than anyone else, who shaped the public's perception that Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon.
In my research of the Lennon case, I discovered that Strub made one statement in particular that destroyed his credibility. Shortly after the murder, Strub was interviewed outside the Roosevelt Hospital (where Lennon was taken) on live television by Jeanne Downey, of Channel 2, CBS in New York. When asked by Downey if there was "any kind of an exchange" between Lennon and Chapman, this was Strub’s response:
"That’s what the doorman [Jose Perdomo] said that there had been some sort of altercation or argument."
That statement is completely inconsistent with statements made by other crime scene witnesses and other researchers. To my knowledge, no one but Strub ever claimed Lennon and Chapman got into a verbal altercation or argument. Besides spreading hearsay information to portray Chapman as the man who killed Lennon, Strub’s basic facts are inconsistent with those of other witnesses.
To read more about Strub, click here: (previously shown)
 The audio recordings Ms. Kotb presented of Chapman in the Dateline segment were nearly 15 years old. She inferred that the tapes were old, but she did not state it in a manner that was easy to understand. Why was she less than forthright on such an important point? The recordings were made about 15 years ago by newspaper reporter and author Jack Jones during interviews with Chapman. Ms. Kotb insinuated that the tapes were not new, but her vagueness was misleading. This is what Ms. Kotb said regarding the date of the interview: "...a decade after that fateful night, Chapman invited one newspaper reporter he trusted into his world…The result was over 100 hours of recorded conversation." Ms. Kotb never explicitly stated when the interview occurred. Instead she forced the viewer to do some mental math. If the interview occurred "a decade after that fateful night," and we know the fateful night was Dec. 8, 1980, then ten years later would be 1990. That’s fifteen years ago, based on Ms. Kotb’s description.
Ms. Kotb also made the following statement about the interview: "These conversations were the basis of a book written by that newspaper reporter, Jack Jones. But now, for the first time, the extensive and unsettling collection of tapes is being heard on broadcast television, obtained by Dateline NBC."
Why didn’t Ms. Kotb tell us the name of the book or state when it was published? Such omissions are signs of shoddy journalism. Nevertheless, I will provide the missing information. The name of Jones’s book was Let me Take You Down: Inside the Mind of Mark David Chapman, the Man Who Shot John Lennon, published by Virgin Books on Jan. 20, 1994. In other words, the book in question was published nearly 12 years ago, and the interviews which were the basis of the book occurred 15 years ago. Ms. Kotb gave the impression that she was presenting new information to the public, but in reality she was not. She was probably telling the truth that Dateline was broadcasting excerpts of the interview "for the first time"; however, Dateline likely could have obtained the tapes 12 years ago had they asked. If something prevented this from occurring, it should have been explained. Perhaps Jack Jones would have asked NBC to pay a fee, or maybe not if it would help promote his 1994 book. Ms. Kotb never explained any details regarding Dateline’s sudden possession of the taped interview 15 years after the fact. Again, this is shoddy journalism.
 Why did Ms. Kotb choose to surround most audio excerpts of Chapman’s interview with sinister-sounding music? This is basic propaganda 101. A good non-fiction TV segment does not need to be dramatized with music. Apparently Ms. Kotb et al did not think Chapman’s voice or his comments sounded sinister enough to convince millions of viewers that he was guilty of committing murder. So she and her colleagues at Dateline primed the pump by adding music for dramatic effect obviously designed to illicit emotional reactions from viewers.
 Why was Chapman’s former girlfriend, Jessica Blankenship, not questioned more about Chapman’s basic decency? Did Jessica think he was capable of murdering anyone? I got the impression she was extremely confused about the events that occurred. She seemed to care about him a great deal. She cried at one point. To Ms. Kotb's credit, she did not edit Jessica's emotional reactions out of the Dateline segment, but it was quickly glossed over.
 Jude Stein, a Lennon fan who talked to Chapman on the night of the murder, made several unusual and contradictory comments about Chapman. Here is an excerpt from the Dateline segment:
Stein’s description of Chapman as being "clean cut" and "very polite" does not match the image of a crazed suicidal stalker, an image that the news media has collectively portrayed of Chapman for years.
At one point, Stein flatly contradicted herself in her interview with Ms. Kotb.
The topic was Chapman had invited Stein and another female companion (Jeri Moll) to dinner on the evening of Lennon’s murder. Later she made confusing statements about the dinner invitation. Here are some excerpts from the Dateline segment:
Stein appears to be denying something, but exactly what is unclear. Is she denying having lunch with Chapman? If so, that assertion was made by Ms. Kotb, not by Chapman. Chapman merely indicated that he had invited Ms. Stein to dinner, but she turned him down. This is consistent with Ms. Stein’s statement earlier in the program, except Stein indicated that Chapman had invited both her and her friend Jeri Moll to dinner, but they "just brushed that off." So Stein and Chapman seem to be in agreement that he asked her for a dinner date and she turned him down. The only point left is Chapman’s explanation that he was trying to "get out," attempting to derail Lennon’s murder that night by getting Ms. Stein to have dinner with him. He was not blaming Ms. Stein for Lennon’s murder, just stating that Lennon would not have died that night had Stein accepted the dinner invitation. Ms. Stein’s response to Chapman’s comments was completely non-responsive and contradictory.
Again, this was Ms. Stein’s reaction to Chapman’s comments: "No way in a million years. That whole statement had to be fabricated in his mind. Never. First I’m hearing of it."
What did Ms. Stein mean by "No way in a million years."? Was she referring to Chapman’s dinner date invitation? Did she mean there is no way in a million years she would have dinner with him? If so, that is not a point of debate. Both he and she agreed that she declined his dinner invitation. Ms. Stein also said that the "whole statement had to be fabricated in his mind." The whole statement? Ms. Stein’s comments contradict her previous statement that Chapman asked her to have dinner, but she and her friend "just brushed that off," a response that is consistent with Chapman’s remarks. Consequently, Chapman’s whole statement could not have been fabricated in Chapman’s mind, as Stein claimed. The only part that was in Chapman’s mind was the part that everyone knows was in his mind, where he speculated that Lennon would not have been killed that night had Ms. Stein gone to dinner with him, although Lennon would have been killed at some point, according to Chapman.
Ms. Stein also made the following emphatic remarks: "Never. First I’m hearing of it." Never what? First she is hearing of what? This entire exchange is extremely confusing and not very specific. It would appear that Ms. Kotb was trying to plant a false message in the audience’s collective mind that Chapman had told a lie and Ms. Stein was calling him on it. However, upon analysis of the specific statements made by both Chapman and Stein, reasonable people would conclude that the two were in general agreement, but it is unclear why Stein responded the way she did. Perhaps it was simply an emotional reaction after hearing Chapman say that Lennon might not have died that night had Stein accepted Chapman's dinner invitation. Whatever the case, Stein's remarks were exploited by Ms. Kotb to further prejudice the viewers against Chapman.
 Ms. Kotb interviewed Stephen Spiro, the officer who arrested Chapman; however, she did not mention patrolman Peter Cullen who assisted Officer Spiro. Both names are listed on the police report; however, Cullen later indicated that he did not believe Chapman committed the crime, at least not initially. On Feb. 23, 1987, People Magazine published an article—"The Man Who Shot John Lennon"—written by James Gaines, whom Chapman had granted rare interviews.(fn01) During his research, Gaines also interviewed Patrolman Cullen. "Patrolman Peter Cullen of New York’s 20th precinct was in the police car to respond to the report of shots fired at the Dakota…" Gaines wrote. This statement is consistent with the police report of Lennon’s murder which indicates that Officer Steven Spiro arrested Chapman, assisted by Officer Cullen. "His first thought was that the handyman was the shooter," Gaines continued. "When the doorman indicated it was Chapman, Cullen’s instincts were offended." Then Gaines quoted Cullen’s observations of Chapman, which were similar to those of Jude Stein’s, who told Ms. Kotb that Chapman was "very polite…clean cut" a "down-South boy." The following words are Officer Peter Cullen’s description of Chapman, as told to writer James Gaines in 1987:
"He looked like a guy who worked in a bank, an office. Not a loser or anything, just a guy out there trying to earn a living. I remember taking a look at him and saying, ‘Why? What did you do here?’ He really had no answer for it. He did say several times, ‘I’m sorry I gave you guys so much trouble’."
(Patrolman Peter Cullen, People Magazine, Feb. 23, 1987, page 59)
Was the omission of Patrolman Cullen's statements merely an innocent oversight by NBC correspondent Hoda Kotb? If we look at Ms. Kotb’s credentials, this hardly seems possible. Ms. Kotb graduated from Virginia Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism. She has been honored with several awards while at NBC, including the 2004 Headliner Award, 2003 Gracie Award and the 2002 Edward R. Murrow Award. Ms. Kotb has been a Dateline NBC correspondent since April 1998 and was named the host of the weekly syndicated series, "Your Total Health", in September 2004. Ms. Kotb’s bio, on MSNBC’s website, indicates that, prior to working for NBC "she worked at WWL-TV, the CBS affiliate in New Orleans, La. where she served as an anchor and reporter for the 10 p.m. news broadcast (1992-98). She was a weekend anchor and reporter for WINK-TV in Fort Myers, Florida (1989-91). Prior to that, Kotb was a morning anchor and general assignment reporter for WQAD-TV, the ABC affiliate in Moline, Ill., and an anchor for WXVT-TV, the CBS affiliate in Greenville, Miss., (1986-89). Kotb began her broadcast career with CBS News as a news assistant in Cairo, Egypt (1986)."
In other words, given Ms. Kotb’s credentials, it appears that she "cherry picked" the information she gathered for the Chapman/Lennon segment on Dateline in a manner that portrayed Chapman in the worst possible light. Ms. Kotb worked under the premise that Chapman was guilty, and any information she found to the contrary was dismissed, even if one of the arresting officers questioned Chapman's guilt. This is extremely shoddy journalism.
 Ms. Kotb attempted to invent a motive for Chapman’s so-called murder of Lennon. Once again, Ms. Kotb links motive to the false assertion that Chapman was insane. Without insanity, there is no motive. In reality, a clear motive was never established because a trial never took place. In a few interviews and at his parole hearings, Chapman has claimed he shot Lennon to get attention and he grew up listening to "little people" who "lived along the walls and along the baseboards." Chapman may be crazy, as Ms. Kotb suggests, or he may be trying to get transferred to mental hospital, a safer environment than a prison cell in Attica. And when Chapman told the parole board that he shot Lennon to get attention, isn’t it possible that he was simply telling them what they wanted to hear? A parole hearing is not the proper venue to claim innocence or speak openly and honestly about the events of crime for which the prisoner was incarcerated. In theory, the objective of a parole hearing is to determine if the prisoner is remorseful for the crime that the state says he/she committed and whether the prisoner will pose a safety risk to the public if released. If Chapman would suddenly claim, to a parole board, that he was framed or he wasn’t sure what happened, he would have no chance of being paroled. If he plays the game and just says what the parole board expects him to say, then in theory, he has a chance of being released. The point is we cannot determine Chapman’s guilt or innocence by his words, particularly when he is incarcerated and wants to be free.
 What kind of person was the Reverend Charles McGowan? He was Chapman’s religious guide. In Ms. Kotb’s presentation, Reverend McGowan insinuated that he did not like Lennon because of Lennon’s 1966 remarks about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus. Does Reverend McGowan feel any guilt about Lennon’s death?
"I remember that comment vividly," McGowan recalled. "People generally saw it as a very blasphemous comment—very arrogant, very blasphemous."
Arrogant? Blasphemous? Those are harsh words. Was Reverend McGowan simply expressing the general sentiment of people from in Georgia in 1966 regarding religious comments Lennon made at that time, or was he expressing his (McGowan's) personal views of Lennon today. Most people today think the press was unfair to Lennon because he was not boasting when he made the religious remark. It was simply a casual remark taken completely out of context. But Reverend McGowan said that Lennon’s comments were viewed as arrogant and blasphemous without stating that these were unfair views. Perhaps he didn’t think they were unfair.
From what I understand about Reverend McGowan (per Fenton Bresler's book), the Reverend was/is a fundamentalist Presbyterian, a born again Christian. Ms. Kotb presented McGowan as a responsible citizen, but she failed to state that his beliefs are similar to those of people like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, the sort of people that the majority of Americans consider to be extremist religious nuts. Based on another set of interviews that Chapman gave to Jim Gaines of People Magazine in 1987, Chapman had some very strange experiences with the born again Christian crowd in Decatur, Georgia. The following is an excerpt from Jim Gaines’ article:
What Chapman described to Gaines was obviously a form of mind control. Was Reverend McGowan a member of the same fundamentalist Christian church that allowed a psychologist to experiment on its members?
Was Mark David Chapman the victim of mind control? Did he actually shoot Lennon or was an obsession to shoot Lennon planted in his brain through hypnotic suggestion combined with mind-altering drugs? Once Chapman saw that Lennon had been shot, did he talk himself into believing he was the shooter?
 Why didn’t Chapman shoot Lennon when he first had the chance? Chapman saw Lennon twice on the day of Lennon's death. Lennon stood in Chapman's view at the entrance of the Dakota approximately six hours before the shooting. Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, were waiting for a limo, in front of the Dakota, to take them to a recording studio, but it never showed up so they got a ride with a friend. Instead of shooting Lennon, Chapman got Lennon’s autograph. Why would a so-called crazed killer hesitate to do the deed when his target stood right in front of him?
According to Ms. Kotb, at 4 p.m., "John and Yoko are wrapping up their radio interview. Part of their discussion with deejay Dave Sholin is about their relationship with the public." That time frame is consistent with my research.
At 5 p.m., Ms. Kotb stated that "the couple heads out for an evening recording session. Lennon greets the people on the sidewalk, including Mark Chapman. Finally, killer and victim are face-to-face. Chapman steps forward, and blocks Lennon’s path. But instead of pulling out his gun, he pulls out his pen. Incredibly, an amateur photographer captures the moment." That is consistent with my research, except I do not regard Chapman as a killer.
Chapman described it in the audio tape from 1990: "I came out and stopped Mr. Lennon and said ‘John, would you sign my album?’ And he was very, very kind to me, very pleasant and he said ‘Sure.’ And then wrote his name and signed 1980 underneath his name."
According to Ms. Kotb, Lennon asked Chapman if he wanted anything more, and Chapman said no and thanked him.
According to writer/attorney Fenton Bresler (author of Who Killed John Lennon?), lots of fans were standing around when Lennon autographed Chapman’s copy of Double-Fantasy, the rock star’s latest album. According to Bresler, lots of fans gathered around the famous couple because John and Yoko were waiting for a limousine that never showed up. "They stood aimlessly around on the pavement waiting for it to appear," Bresler wrote. "A small crowed gathered." This was when Chapman first approached Lennon. According to Bresler, Yoko asked Sholin for a lift to the Record Plant because the limo was late, and he gladly complied. (pp 226-230)
This is an important point. Lots of fans had gathered around John and Yoko when Chapman asked John for an autograph, according to Bresler. The reason the crowd gathered, according to Bresler, was because the couple’s limo never showed up. In other words, had Chapman shot Lennon during their first encounter, there would have been plenty of eye witnesses to testify that Chapman was the person who actually committed the crime. Was Chapman afraid of being seen by others? If so, such a scenario does not match the picture painted of Chapman by the authorities—that he was seeking celebrity status for himself, that he killed Lennon to become famous himself. At one point during Ms. Kotb’s two-hour Dateline segment, photographer Harry Benson said Chapman acted like "a celebrity killer" during a photo session of Chapman in jail. According to Benson, Chapman's intention was "to show off" in front of the camera.
Why would a so-called crazed, obsessed killer (whose objective was to kill John Lennon in order to "show off" and gain celebrity status for himself) not shoot Lennon in front of fans when he first had the chance?
The question itself lends more credence to my contention that Chapman was not really Lennon’s killer. Chapman’s actions only make sense if someone else killed Lennon and made Chapman the fall guy. This would explain why Lennon was not killed when he first met Chapman in front of several fans.
Of course there is a second scenario as well. It is possible that the limo was intentionally delayed, and the assassination planners intended to have Lennon killed in front of several fans when he and Yoko emerged from the Dakota at 5:00 PM. Perhaps a few more fake witnesses were among the fans. (Jude Stein comes to mind.) In this scenario, something may have gone wrong which caused Lennon's murder to be delayed for several hours. What was it? According to statements made by Chapman, he heard a voice saying "Do it, do it, do it," shortly before Lennon was shot when he returned home from the studio about six hours later. This may have been a real voice, perhaps the voice of doorman Jose Perdomo. It may have been a signal that would put Chapman in a hypnotic state, thereby making it easier to blame him for the crime, similar to Sirhan Sirhan's altered mental state which allowed him to be blamed for shooting Bobby Kennedy. Maybe Perdomo forgot to say the magic words, or perhaps Chapman was so impressed at seeing Lennon in person that the verbal signal did not penetrate his psyche. When Chapman asked Lennon for an autograph, and the two men exchanged words, it may have blown the entire assassination attempt. There were too many people around who saw them speak in a friendly manner. Would the witnesses believe this friendly Chapman would suddenly turn into a cold-blooded killer?
In both scenarios, mind control was used on Chapman. As previously stated, during an interview with Jim Gaines, of People Magazine, Chapman indicated that he and his girlfriend Jessica Blankenship had witnessed mind control experimentation while attending fundamentalist Christian prayer groups in Decatur, Georgia, presumably with Reverend Charles McGowan, a man portrayed by Dateline as a stable individual.
 Ms. Kotb mentioned Chapman's involvement with the YMCA, but she failed to mentioned Chapman’s sudden trip around the world sponsored by the YMCA, which included a trip to Lebanon during a civil war. In fact, Ms. Kotb omitted an enormous amount of information about Chapman’s life. In 1973 Mark graduated from Columbia High School in Decatur. The ensuing seven years of Mark’s life were somewhat erratic. His primary career was working as a security guard, which is consistent with Kobt’s presentation. He enrolled in community colleges a few times but always dropped out. Nevertheless, as a young man, Chapman did several unusual things that Ms. Kotb conveniently omitted from her story. For example, in June 1975, Chapman went to Beirut Lebanon for about a month on a trip sponsored by the YMCA. Lebanon was a particularly odd place to be at that time because a bloody civil war had begun in that country two months earlier, in April of 1975. After returning to America (around August 1975), Mark worked for six months at a YMCA camp for Vietnamese refugees at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. In early 1977, Mark suddenly moved to Honolulu. In early 1978, Mark’s parents filed for divorce. On July 6, 1978, Mark left Honolulu for Tokyo where he began a six week trip around the world. Besides Tokyo, he visited Israel, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Delhi, Geneva, London, Paris, and Dublin. Around the end of 1978, Mark’s mother, Diane (single by then), moved to Hawaii and lived in an apartment near Mark’s. From December 1979 through October 23, 1980, Mark worked as an unarmed security guard at a condominium complex in Honolulu. He reported to condominium manager Joseph Bustamante. According to Bustamante, Chapman signed himself out as "John Lennon" after his last day of work on Oct. 23, 1980; however, I have already shown (to a limited degree) how people can be manipulated to do strange things through the use of mind control. I believe Mark David Chapman is a classic mind control subject.(1)
 Ms. Kotb mentioned Chapman’s purchase of a gun and acquisition of bullets during his first trip to New York City, but she failed to mention similar purchases for the second trip. Why the deception? Chapman made two trips from Hawaii to New York City. Chapman’s gun and bullets are only significant for the second trip because that was when Lennon was killed. Ms. Kotb is either confused herself or she is attempting to deceive the audience.
Fenton Bresler described in great detail—in his book, Who Killed John Lennon? (1989)—how Chapman purchased, on October 27, 1980, a .38 Special revolver from J&S Enterprises Ltd, a gun shop in midtown Honolulu. Bresler even provided the weapon’s serial number, 577570, and implied that the stated weapon was used by Chapman to murder John Lennon about six weeks later on December 8, 1980. The NYPD’s police report indicates that a ".38 cal snub nose" was the weapon found at the crime scene; however, the serial number is not shown in the report. Consequently, it is unclear if the serial number of the .38 revolver purchased by Chapman on October 27, 1980 matches the weapon found by the NYPD at the crime scene on December 8, 1980.
Tracing the murder weapon is convoluted because Chapman made two trips to New York City: one from October 29, 1980 through November 10, 1980; another on December 6, 1980, two days before the murder. On the first trip, there is little doubt that Chapman carried the .38 revolver, serial # 577570, as Bresler described. In fact, Bresler gave a detailed account of how Chapman brought the gun with him to NYC on October 29th but forgot to bring bullets, and subsequently flew to Atlanta to get hollow-point bullets from his cop friend, Dana Reeves (aka, Gene Scott). The reason for the Atlanta trip was because NYC forbade the purchase of ammunition by persons not living in the state of New York.
There is a strong possibility that the .38 revolver Chapman purchased on October 27, 1980 is NOT the same .38 revolver found at the crime scene on December 8, 1980. There is also a possibility that if the serial numbers match, that the gun was brought to the crime scene by someone other than Chapman. In both scenarios, I suspect the gun was planted, that Chapman was unarmed on the night of the murder, and the notion that he was carrying a gun was a hypnotic suggestion planted in his mind, reinforced by his previous trip to New York where he did in fact carry a .38 revolver.
Think about it. If a second gunman killed Lennon, the planners wouldn’t want Chapman to carry a loaded weapon to the crime scene. He might start firing wildly, possibly shooting the second gunman. Chapman’s role was to be the patsy, not the shooter.
A smarter approach would be to send Chapman to NYC on a prior visit carrying a .38 revolver similar to the actual murder weapon, and plant a hypnotic obsession in his mind to kill Lennon. The planners had no intention of killing Lennon during Chapman’s first visit to New York. The objective was to create a real image in Chapman’s mind that he carried a gun to NYC while he struggled to resist an obsession to murder Lennon. Chapman admitted fighting the obsession and ultimately won during the first visit and consequently did not harm Lennon. On the second trip to NYC, however, Chapman would be unarmed (in my scenario), but through the use of hypnosis/mind control, Chapman would confuse the second trip to NYC with the first. Hence, he would confuse his real memory of being armed during his first trip to NYC with his second trip where he was unarmed.(2)
This is a lot to absorb at once. If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed, you may want to go back and read the following article again which explains how the doorman, Jose Perdomo, likely shot and killed John Lennon:
Then read why Edward Teller and other right-wing military fanatics would want to kill Lennon in order to ensure the success of their trillion dollar defense build-up, known as SDI, during the ensuing Reagan administration:
In closing, it is quite obvious that Hoda Kotb is either a shoddy journalist or a paid propagandist whose mission is to seal the widening cracks in the case of John Lennon's murder. Based on her credentials, the latter seems more likely than the former.
FOOTNOTE # 1: James Gaines wrote three articles for People Magazine about Mark David Chapman published on the following dates: (1) "Descent Into Madness," June 22, 1981; (2) "The Man Who Shot John Lennon," February 23, 1987; and (3) "In the Shadows a Killer Waited," March 2, 1987. Patrolman Cullen was quoted in the second article, "The Man Who Shot John Lennon." Gaines is a longtime journalist and the former editor of several magazines, including Time and People.
(1) Multiple sources:
To order Salvador Astucia's book about John Lennon's murder, click here: