Mark David Chapman says he considered killing either Johnny Carson or Elizabeth Taylor, but John Lennon was "top of the list" the day in 1980 he gunned down the former Beatle.
Chapman told his New York parole board earlier this month that he chose those people because they were famous. A transcript of his hearing was released on Thursday after the board turned down his request for release.
Lennon's killer agreed with a parole board member that he did the killing for "instant notoriety."
"I felt that by killing John Lennon, I would become somebody, and instead of that I became a murderer, and murderers are not somebodies," he said.
Lennon was 40 when he was shot several times on Dec. 8, 1980, outside his luxury apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side, opposite Central Park.
Chapman said Lennon seemed to be more "accessible" than other celebrity targets, and called the killing "an act of utter selfishness. I thought about me and what I would become."
He called it "a horrible decision."
Chapman told the parole board how he bought a gun from a shop near his home in Honolulu by lying about his past history of mental illness. He flew to New York with $5,000 US borrowed from his wife's family, carrying the gun unloaded in his baggage.
When he got there, he discovered he couldn't buy ammunition under New York law. He had to make a side trip to Atlanta to get bullets.
Chapman said he had flown to New York two months earlier with the intention of killing a famous person, but backed out at that time.
He told the board that prison had changed him and when he got out of prison, he intended to get a job.