Little Bits of History

Son of Sam

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 12, 2011

David Berkowitz

June 12, 1978: David Berkowitz is sentenced. He was born on June 1, 1953 and named Richard David Falco. He was called the Son of Sam and dubbed the .44 Caliber Killer, citing his weapon of choice. After his arrest, he confessed to six murders and admitted to wounding seven others. He was responsible for eight shootings between July 29, 1976 and July 31, 1977. He later recanted and admitted to only two shootings and three people killed with a fourth wounded.

Berkowitz was adopted when he was only days old and had a “somewhat troubled” childhood. An intelligent child, he had a lackluster academic career, instead leaning toward petty crime. His adoptive mother died when he was 13 and he did not care for his father’s second wife. He claimed his new step-sister got him interested in witchcraft and the occult. He served honorably in the US Army from 1971 to 1974.

He joined a cult in 1975 and claims these people got him involved in violent crime beginning with killing dogs. Donna Lauria was killed and Jody Valenti shot about 1:19 AM on July 29, 1976. Valenti had not recognized their assailant. The next attack was on October 23 with two people shot, but surviving. In November, two more were shot and survived. In January 1977, two people were shot with one dying and in March a woman was killed on her way home from a college class. In April two people were killed and in June two more were shot and survived. Two more were shot, with one surviving as the killing spree ended in July 1977.

Berkowitz was questioned on August 11, 1977 and confessed to the Son of Sam murders. He claimed Sam, a neighbor, had a dog who was possessed by an ancient demon and the demon had commanded Berkowitz to kill. He was sentenced to 365 years in prison. He was given added time for assault in prison. He became a born-again Christian in 1987 but states he deserves to “be in prison for the rest of my life.” That is where he remains to this day.

“I am deeply hurt by your calling me a wemon [sic] hater! I am not. But I am a monster. I am the “Son of Sam.” I am a little brat.” – opening of the Son of Sam letter

“Police: Let me haunt you with these words: I’ll be back! I’ll be back! To be interpreted as — bang bang bang, bank, bang — ugh!! Yours in murder, Mr. Monster” – closing of Son of Sam letter

“Hello from the gutters of N.Y.C. which are filled with dog manure, vomit, stale wine, urine and blood. Hello from the sewers of N.Y.C. which swallow up these delicacies when they are washed away by the sweeper trucks.” – opening of the Breslin letter

“Please inform all the detectives working the case that I wish them the best of luck. “Keep ’em digging, drive on, think positive, get off your butts, knock on coffins, etc.” Upon my capture I promise to buy all the guys working the case a new pair of shoes if I can get up the money. Son of Sam” – closing of the Breslin letter

Also on this day:
If It Doesn’t Fit, You Must Acquit – In 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman are murdered.
Medgar Evers – In 1963, this Civil Rights leader was assassinated.

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