The untimely death of John Lennon at the hands of Mark David Chapman in December 1980 shocked the music world, with fans continuing to mourn his loss. A new Apple TV+ documentary series, titled John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial, looks into the shooting and its aftermath, and reveals what the Beatles guitarist and songwriter’s last ever words were.
John Lennon was shot to death by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980, upon returning to his apartment in New York City. He and his wife, Yoko Ono, had arrived at the Dakota when they were approached by Chapman, a fan of the Beatles who’d become angered by the musician’s 1966 claim that the band had become “more popular than Jesus.”
Chapman had encountered Lennon earlier that day and asked the musician to sign his copy of the album Double Fantasy. Later that evening, the fan approached Lennon and Ono as they were returning to their apartment and raised a revolver. He fired five shots, four of which struck the musician in the back.
Upon arriving at Roosevelt Hospital (now Mount Sinai West) in Midtown West, Lennon was declared dead. He was 40 years old. Chapman had remained at the scene until he was arrested by police officers, who found him reading J.D. Salinger‘s The Catcher in the Rye.
John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial, is narrated by actor Kiefer Sutherland. Along with providing a look at Lennon’s murder, the three-part docuseries looks at the various conspiracy theories that have popped up over the years, using audio of Chapman speaking with his lawyers while applying for parole, as well as interviews with attornies, detectives, psychiatrists and friends, to propel the story.
Among the revelations made include Lennon’s last words, which have largely been left to speculation in the years since. They’re shared by Jay Hastings, who was working the front desk of the Dakota at the time of the shooting. Speaking in the documentary, he recalls:
“He runs past me. He goes, ‘I’m shot.’ He had blood coming out of his mouth. He just collapsed on the floor. I half rolled him to his back and took his glasses off, put them on the desk. And Yoko was screaming, ‘Get an ambulance, get an ambulance, get an ambulance.'”
Mark David Chapman is currently serving out his sentence for second-degree murder at Green Haven Correctional Facility in New York. He’s repeatedly been denied parole, with his next chance to apply coming up in February 2024.
John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial is slated to premiere on Apple TV+ on December 6, 2023.