Air Date: Friday, November 18, 2005
Time Slot: 8:00 PM-10:00 PM EST on NBC
Episode Title: ""
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"Dateline" To Air Special on the Man Who Shot John Lennon -- Friday, Nov. 18


Hoda Kotb Reports in an Exclusive Two-Hour "Dateline NBC" Special that Includes Audiotapes That Reveal Assassin Mark Chapman's Descent Into Madness

Broadcast Features Never Heard Before Testimonies About the Events of the Fateful Day That Silenced the Voice of a Generation - Friday, Nov. 18 at 8pm

(New York, N.Y.) - Tuesday, Nov. 15 - Marking the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death, "Dateline" 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 1991-1992. The collection of audiotapes, which are part of a British documentary, licensed by "Dateline," offer a rare look into the mind of a killer, and give people an opportunity to try and comprehend the unexplainable murder of an icon. Along with personal accounts by those first on the scene the night of his murder, the report includes interviews with people close to Lennon, and exclusive interviews with those who knew Chapman who have never spoken before publicly. 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 audiotapes (Please courtesy, "Dateline NBC"):

RE: The day he murdered Lennon:

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.

RE: 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.

RE: His initial thoughts about murdering Lennon:

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.

RE: 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.

David Corvo is the executive producer of "Dateline NBC."

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