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Encyclopedia > Son of Sam
David Berkowitz

David Falco Berkowitz (born June 1, 1953), better known by his nickname Son of Sam, is an infamous 1970s New York City serial killer who killed six people and wounded several others. His given name was David Falco— Berkowitz was the name of his adoptive parents.

Berkowitz struggled with being adopted and with the concept that his mother did not want him. His murders began after a 3-year enlistment in the United States Army, the first occurring on July 29, 1976 when he fired into a car where two girls sat, wounding Jody Valentini and killing Donna Lauria.

The "Son of Sam" nickname came from a neighbor/landlord Sam Carr. According to Berkowitz, Sam Carr was a "high demon" who sent his "evil" labrador dog to command Berkowitz to kill. After his fourth attack in January 1977, authorities realized that he targeted teen girls with long, dark hair and young couples. Berkowitz began writing letters to the media, and was arrested on August 10, 1977. He had been issued a parking ticket near the scene of his final crime, and police investigation led them to Berkowitz. Berkowitz, who immediately confessed, was arrested outside his Yonkers apartment on August 10, 1977. He was sentenced on June 12, 1978 to 365 years in prison for the killings.

Berkowitz claimed to receive his orders to kill from an acquaintance's barking dog. He now says that story was untrue that during the time of the killings, he was a Satanist. He invited the former priest and exorcist Malachi Martin to visit him to discuss his past occult involvement. He survived at least one attempt on his life in prison, but his behavior in prison early in his sentence earned him the nickname of "David Berserkowitz." Berkowitz became a born-again Christian in 1987 in prison and now works as a chaplain. In March 2002, Berkowitz wrote a letter to New York governor George Pataki asking that his parole hearing be cancelled. "I can give you no good reason why I should even be considered." In June 2004, he was denied his second parole, even after he stated that he does not want one. The board saw that Berkowitz has a good record in the prison programs, but the viciousness of his criminal acts call for him to stay imprisoned.

One major side effect of his serial killings were the "Son of Sam laws". The first of these laws was enacted in the state of New York after rampant speculation about publishers offering Berkowitz large sums of money for his story. The new law, quickly named for Berkowitz, authorized the state to seize all money earned from such a deal from a criminal for five years, with intentions to use the seized money to compensate victims. The Supreme Court declared such laws unconstitutional in 1991.

The 1999 movie Summer of Sam, directed by Spike Lee, is set against the backdrop of Berkowitz's killing spree. Although Berkowitz, played by Michael Badalucco, features in a number of scenes (including a darkly comical part where Berkowitz hallucinates that his neighbor's black labrador walked into his apartment and maniacally demanded he go out and kill someone) the film is primarily concerned with the oppressive effects of the atmosphere of fear and paranoia on a group of young friends in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx.

See also

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Son of Sam law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (478 words)
A Son of Sam law is a law designed to keep criminals from profiting from their crimes by selling their stories to publishers.
In 1987, lawyers for Simon and Schuster sued the New York authorities to enjoin enforcement of the Son of Sam law.
The state of California's Son of Sam law was struck down in 2002 after being used against Barry Keenan, one of the men who kidnapped Frank Sinatra, Jr.
David Berkowitz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3937 words)
David Richard Berkowitz (born June 1, 1953), better known by his nicknames Son of Sam or The.44 Caliber Killer, is an serial killer who confessed to killing six people and wounding several others in New York City in the late 1970s.
One major side effect of his murder spree were the "Son of Sam laws." The first of these laws was enacted in the state of New York after rampant speculation about publishers offering Berkowitz large sums of money for his story.
Berkowitz's "Son of Sam" nickname was referenced in The Offspring's 2000 single Original Prankster.
  More results at FactBites »



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