John Lennon's killer's letters detail obsession with Catcher in the Rye

Four letters written by John Lennon's killer, Mark Chapman, to his arresting officer, Stephen Spiro, have been put up for sale. The letters, which shine a light on Chapman's obsession with JD Salinger's angst-ridden novel The Catcher in the Rye, have been given a fixed price of $75,000 by the auction house presiding over the sale.

The typed and signed letters were written over several months in 1983, after Chapman pleaded guilty to Lennon's murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

Chapman’s mug shot


They are being offered from Spiro's estate, reports the Daily Telegraph, in order to raise funds for much needed medical care. Their content suggests Chapman, who remains in prison having been refused parole seven times, was keen to develop a relationship with Spiro.

Spiro arrested Chapman on December 8, 1980, moments after Chapman fatally shot the ex-Beatle outside his Manhattan apartment building.

Throughout Chapman's missives, Lennon's assassin frequently refers to Salinger's novel, with which he is patently obsessed, even adopting the lexicon of its protagonist when he asks Spiro whether or not he considers Lennon a "phoney".

Chapman fired at Lennon five times, hitting the musician four times in the back. When Spiro arrived on the scene, Chapman was found reading The Catcher in the Rye - a peculiar fact that propelled the famed novel, which deals with themes of adolescence, alienation and solipsistic acts of violence, into the headlines once more.

Also for sale is the Double Fantasy album John Lennon signed for Mark Chapman five hours before his death. The cover and dust jacket feature Chapman's forensically enhanced fingerprints.

Regarding the album, Bob Zafian, a spokesperson for the auction house presiding over the sale, commented: "We are very excited to bring such a historically significant piece to the market."

PFC Auctions is currently offering this superb Lennon and Yoko Ono signed album for sale.

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