John Lennon's assassin says Jesus has forgiven him for shooting former Beatle

(Reuters/Chip East)A mug-shot of Mark David Chapman, who shot and killed John Lennon, is displayed on the 25th anniversary of Lennon's death at the NYPD in New York December 8, 2005.

The man who killed John Lennon has penned a letter in which he claims that he has been forgiven by Jesus for assassinating the famous singer nearly 37 years ago.

Mark Chapman, now 62, was given a sentence of 20 years to life for shooting Lennon four times in the back outside his New York apartment on Dec. 8, 1980.

In a letter addressed to his pen pal, known only as "Michael," Chapman acknowledged that he had committed a "heinous crime," but said that he had come to know Jesus during his incarceration at the Attica Correctional Facility, the New York State Jail where he was previously held.

"Jesus is who I would like to write to you of today, for he is not merely a character in a story, but a real, living person I have come to know. Jesus is everything. I have found this through the many long years here at Attica. He has never left me," Chapman wrote according to The Sun.

"Through it all, I have come to learn that he cares very deeply for me – and for you. That is why he chose to die, to shed his blood so that our sins – even mine – could be forgiven," he continued.

Chapman, who is currently being held behind bars at a maximum-security prison at the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, near Buffalo, New York, noted in the letter that he had written a book titled "The Prisoner's Letter" to explain his motivations for the crime.

The letter, which was reportedly sent to his pen pal more than five years ago from his previous prison, has since been sold to an anonymous bidder for $350 by Eric Holler, who runs the website Serial Killers Ink.

Holler, who specializes in selling the personal effects of the world's most notorious criminals, said that he had obtained the letter from Chapman's pen pal, but he had not been in contact with the convicted murderer himself.

"It sold for $350 about an hour after it was listed on the website. I would love to obtain more Chapman items as they are in demand and sell extremely well," he added.

In August 2016, the state parole board rejected Chapman's request to be released from prison on parole. It was the ninth time that his petition has been rejected since 2000.

Chapman's petition for parole has come up every two years, and each time he has been eligible, Lennon's widow Yoko Ono has campaigned to ensure that the convicted killer stays in prison.

He will be eligible for parole again in August 2018, but his family has reportedly said that they do not want him to ever be released.

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