I graduated high school in the early '90s. It was an awesome summer. I was fresh out of school, had my first real job, and had to start fending for myself a bit while my mom was living at camp for the summer. I remember going over to the old Doug's Shop n' Save on Third and Union to buy some groceries.

As I was walking through the parking lot, I saw this van with photos and writing all over the side. And in giant letters across the side of the van it read: STEPHEN KING SHOT JOHN LENNON.

Photo: JeffLawlor.com

At first, I kind of chuckled to myself because I assumed it was some kind of joke. I figured it was a band van, or some fellow teenager that was trying to be funny. But as I looked a bit closer to the things that were written on pieces of paper that were taped to the inside of the windows, I began to see that this guy, Steve Lightfoot, was totally and completely serious. And also, just a little bit out there.

He has, what he believes to be, irrefutable proof that Stephen King shot John Lennon. According to his website, he alleges that there are a series of codes that are embedded in Newsweek, Time, and U.S. News and World report, that point to the true nature of the crime. It's a straight up tin-foil-hat-mayor-of-crazytown idea. Now, the hole in his theory comes in that Mark David Chapman has totally confessed to the murder. Here's some info from a timeline in an article from CNN.com

June 22, 1981 - Chapman's legal defense prepares to argue an insanity defense but instead, Chapman pleads guilty saying that he has received a message from God telling him to do so.
August 24, 1981 - Justice Dennis Edwards sentences Chapman to 20 years to life in prison and recommends Chapman undergo psychiatric treatment. Just prior to sentencing, Chapman reads a passage from "The Catcher in the Rye."
And here is a bit from Lightfoot's own website, LennonMurderTruth.com, discussing how this all came to be:
The story about Mark Chapman is a cover-up. Bold print government cryptographic codes that include the killer’s face and true identity, the killer’s alleged name and letter to the editor printed before the murder and Richard Nixon’s book, The Real War, in back issues of TimeNewsweek, and US News and World Report magazines printed before, during, and after the night of December 8, 1980 prove that Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan arranged for the author Stephen King, then barley famous, to assassinate John Lennon. That King’s writings draw, dramatically, from the crime and that he taunts us all in his interviews and comments only makes this the story of a lifetime.
Photo: JeffLawlor.com

Now, really, I'm not here to pass judgment. The whole reason I even went down memory lane in the first place is because Mark David Chapman is up for parole this month. He's been denied every two years since he first became eligible in 2000. And likely, it's because he's guilty of the crime of shooting John Lennon. But the internet is a weird place where just about anything can happen. And this is no exception.

Maybe Chapman will be released this month, after all these years. But not likely. Considering he sites all his inspiration for the murder to have come from J.D. Salinger's novel, The Catcher In The Rye, it seems he and Lightfoot (who, by the way, has a new van) should be pals instead of enemies. So, let's see if Chapman decides to look up Steve Lightfoot and ask him why he hasn't tried harder to get him out of jail, instead of just saying Stephen King did it.

Jeff Lawlor with permission

At any rate, if you ever see this van around here again, let me know. I'd love to stroll down memory lane again. Except this time, I'll just chuckle and keep walking.