|“||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 Berkowitw.
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.
- Donna Lauria, 18
- Christine Freund, 26
- Virginia Voskerichian, 21
- Valentina Suriani, 18
- Alexander Esau, 20
- Stacy Moskowitz, 20