David Berkowitz

From Real Life Villains Wiki

David Berkowitz
The Son of Sam.jpg
Full Name: David Richard Berkowitz
Alias: The Son of Sam
The .44 Caliber Killer
Origin: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Occupation: Us Army soldier (discharged)

Serial killer
Prison minister

Skills: Gunmanship

Law evasion
Physical strength
Murder Methods

Hobby: Killing people (formerly)
Goals: Get away with his crimes (failed.)
Redeem himself for his past crimes (ongoing.)
Crimes: Mass Murder
Type of Villain: Remorseful Killer

I am a monster. I am the Son of Sam. I love to hunt.
~ David Berkowitz

David Berkowitz (born Richard David Falco, June 1, 1953), also known as the Son of Sam and the .44 Caliber Killer is an American convicted serial killer who terrorized New York for a year. He would roam the streets in search of victims. He would send letters to the police telling them about his crimes. He described himself as an evil demon and called himself the Son of Sam. Berkowitz killed 6 people and wounded 7 people. He was caught and trialed in New York where he said demons told him to do it. In 1993, he claimed a cult did some of the murders but most people who worked with him find this story unbelievable.

Berkowitz is currently serving six consecutive life sentences at Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Ulster County, New York. He has since become a Born-again Christian and has shown remorse for his crimes, and is now a practicing prison minister.


David Berkowitz was born on June 1, 1953. His mother, Elizabeth "Betty" Broder, grew up as part of an impoverished Jewish family and married Tony Falco, an Italian-American, in 1936. After a marriage of less than four years, Falco left her for another woman. About a decade later in 1950, Broder started a relationship with a married man named Joseph Klineman. Three years later she became pregnant with a child to whom she chose to give the surname Falco —Richard David Falco was born on June 1, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York. Within a few days of his birth, she gave the child away. Although her reasons for doing so are unknown, later writers have surmised that Klineman threatened to abandon her if she kept the baby and used his name.

The infant boy was adopted by Pearl and Nathan Berkowitz of the Bronx. The Jewish-American couple were hardware store retailers of modest means, and childless in middle age. They reversed the order of the boy's first and middle names and gave him their own surname, raising young David Richard Berkowitz as their only child.

Journalist John Vincent Sanders wrote that Berkowitz's childhood was "somewhat troubled". Although of above-average intelligence, he lost interest in learning at an early age and became infatuated with petty larceny and starting fires. Neighbors and relatives would recall Berkowitz as difficult, spoiled, and a bully. His adoptive parents consulted at least one psychotherapist due to his misconduct, but his misbehavior never resulted in a legal intervention or serious mention in his school records. Berkowitz's adoptive mother died of breast cancer when he was fourteen years old, and his home life became strained during later years, particularly because he disliked his adoptive father's second wife.

At the age of 17 in 1971, he joined the U.S. Army and served in the United States and South Korea. After an honorable discharge in 1974, he located his birth mother, Betty. After a few visits, she disclosed the details of his illegitimate birth. The news greatly disturbed Berkowitz, and he was particularly distraught by the array of reluctant father figures. Forensic anthropologist Elliott Leyton described Berkowitz's discovery of his adoption and illegitimate birth as the "primary crisis" of his life, a revelation that shattered his sense of identity. His communication with his birth mother later lapsed, but for a time he remained in communication with his half-sister, Roslyn. He subsequently had several non-professional jobs, and at the time of his arrest he was working as a letter sorter for the U.S. Postal Service.

In June 1976, a friend from the Army purchased a .44 caliber Bulldog gun for Berkowitz.

During the mid-1970s, Berkowitz started to commit violent crimes. He bungled the first attempt at murder using a knife, then switched to a handgun and began a lengthy crime spree throughout the New York boroughs of the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. He sought young female victims. He was purportedly most attracted to women with long dark wavy hair. All but one of the crime sites involved two victims; he infamously committed some of his attacks while the women sat with boyfriends in parked cars. He exhibited an enduring enjoyment of his activities, often returning to the scenes of his crimes.

On August 10, 1977, police investigated Berkowitz's car that was parked on the street outside his apartment building at 35 Pine Street in Yonkers. They saw a rifle in the back seat, searched the car, and found a duffel bag filled with ammunition, maps of the crime scenes, and a threatening letter addressed to Inspector Timothy Dowd of the Omega Task Force. Police decided to wait for Berkowitz to leave the apartment, rather than risk a violent encounter in the building's narrow hallway; they also waited to obtain a search warrant for the apartment, worried that their search might be challenged in court.

The initial search of the vehicle was based on the rifle that was visible in the back seat, although possession of such a rifle was legal in New York State and required no special permit. The warrant still had not arrived when Berkowitz exited the apartment building at about 10:00 p.m. and entered his car. Detective John Falotico approached the driver's side of the car. Falotico pointed his gun close to Berkowitz's temple, while Detective Sgt. William Gardella pointed his gun from the passenger's side.

At his sentencing two weeks later, Berkowitz caused an uproar when he attempted to jump out of a window of the seventh-floor courtroom. After he was restrained, he repeatedly chanted "Stacy [his last victim] was a whore" and shouted "I'd kill her again. I'd kill them all again." The court ordered another psychiatric examination before sentencing could proceed. During the evaluation, Berkowitz drew a sketch of a jailed man surrounded by numerous walls; at the bottom he wrote, "I am not well. Not well at all". Nonetheless, Berkowitz was again found competent to stand trial.

On June 12, 1978, Berkowitz was sentenced to 25-years-to-life in prison for each murder, to be served consecutively.[100] He was ordered to serve time in Attica Correctional Facility, an Upstate New York supermax prison. Despite prosecutors' objections, the terms of Berkowitz's guilty plea made him eligible for parole in 25 years.

Berkowitz is entitled to a parole hearing every two years as mandated by state law, though he has consistently refused to ask for his release, sometimes skipping the hearings altogether. Before his first parole hearing in 2002, Berkowitz sent a letter to New York Governor George Pataki demanding that it be canceled. He wrote, "In all honesty, I believe that I deserve to be in prison for the rest of my life. I have, with God's help, long ago come to terms with my situation and I have accepted my punishment." Officials at the Sullivan facility rejected his demand.

In his 2016 hearing at Shawangunk, New York, Berkowitz stated that while parole was "unrealistic," he felt he had improved himself behind bars, adding: "I feel I am no risk, whatsoever." His lawyer, Mark Heller, noted that prison staff considered Berkowitz to be a "model prisoner." Commissioners denied a parole.

In 2018, the board again denied the release of Berkowitz on parole. His next hearing was scheduled for May 2020. The novel Coronavirus disease 2019 delayed his hearing until further notice.

Confirmed victims

  • Donna Lauria, 18
  • Christine Freund, 26
  • Virginia Voskerichian, 21
  • Valentina Suriani, 18
  • Alexander Esau, 20
  • Stacy Moskowitz, 20