Cab driver Richard Peterson assumed he might catch a glimpse of John Lennon, the most renowned tenant of the apartment complex in New York City, when he drew up to the Dakota on December 8, 1980.
Rather, he witnessed one of the most horrifying events in the history of popular culture: John Lennon's demise. Currently available for viewing is the three-part Apple TV+ documentary John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial.
Peterson was discussing what he witnessed and how at first he thought they were making a movie then he heard gunfire for the first time since that terrifying night over 40 years ago. Peterson tells the story in the series that he picked up two people that evening and took them to the Dakota for a party.
As soon as John Lennon's taxi arrived, his wife, Yoko Ono, leaped out and made her way into the building. "Right on! "I guess John Lennon is next in line," Peterson remembers thinking. "Actually, I had never seen him before. Say, for instance, "Well, I can say I saw John Lennon."
At the same time, Peterson saw Mark David Chapman—a "heavyset, chunky guy"—instead of the 40-year-old musician. "I'm staring at him through my taxi's front window. I have him in my sights and ready to shoot. Five tries. John Lennon was just shot by this guy. He claims, "He shot him."
"They seemed like filmmakers to me. At first, I believed they were filming a movie. That is, until I saw there were no cameras or lighting, and I had to acknowledge that, "Hey, this aint no movie." Peterson remembers that after killing Lennon, his assassin, who is still in prison despite having admitted to second-degree murder in 1981, stayed at the scene and behaved like a "calm cucumber."
The new documentary series, filmed by Nick Holt and Rob Coldstream and narrated by Kiefer Sutherland, features numerous interviews, one of which is with the driver. David Glover, Mark Raphael, Coldstream, and executive producer Simon Bunney are joined by producer Louis Lee Ray.
The other participants include Dakota doorman Jay Hastings, who talks with PEOPLE about his experiences in this week's issue, and Dr. Naomi Goldstein, the psychiatrist who initially evaluated Chapman. The show delves further into Chapman's investigation and conviction.
with prosecutors and defense attorneys debating his mental health. This was his twelfth refusal to accept parole after he was sentenced to 20 years to life in jail in 2022. After Lennon's passing, he claimed that his murder was carried out for fame, branding his acts as "selfish."
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