Mark David Chapman (pictured) wrote a series of letters to NYPD Officer Steve Spiro.
Chapman bizarrely “wanted to be friends” with the cop who was first on the scene at the 1980 shooting and said they were “part of something big.” “Besides wanting to be your friend,” reads the first of three typed letters to Spiro in 1983, “is there any way that you can help me locate my copy of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ that was taken from me on the night of my arrest?
…“I am wondering if you now understand this,” Chapman asks of the inscription in one letter that ends, “You’re probably still the ‘best damn cop in New York City.’ ”
Less than two weeks later, Chapman wrote Spiro: “From the time of my arrest I have felt close to you . . . It is something that would happen to Holden Caulfield.” He adds, “To answer the question of what was meant by ‘This is my statement’ . . . do you remember that young woman in Saigon during the Vietnam war that immolated herself . . . She believed so strongly in her purpose that she chose to end her life rather than continue living in this phony world. Poems were found on her . . . This was her statement. ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ is my statement.”