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Son Of Sam

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Son of Sam" redirects here. For other uses, see Son of Sam (disambiguation).

David Berkowitz


Birth name: Richard David Falco

Alias(es): Son of Sam

Born: June 1, 1953 (1953-06-01) (age 54)

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Number of victims: 13 shot, six dead, seven wounded

Country where killings occurred: U.S.

States where killings occurred: New York

Span of killings: July 29, 1976 through July 31, 1977

Date apprehended: August 10, 1977

Penalty: six life terms (365 years)

David Richard Berkowitz (born June 1, 1953), also known as the .44 Caliber Killer and the Son of Sam, is an American serial killer.

Shortly after his arrest in 1977, Berkowitz confessed to killing six people and wounding seven others during eight shootings in New York City between 1976 and 1977. He has been imprisoned for the crimes since 1977. The crimes had terrorized New York for a year, and earned publicity due to Berkowitz's claim that a neighbor's dog was possessed by a demon that commanded Berkowitz to kill.

Berkowitz later amended his confession to claim he was the shooter in only two incidents, personally killing three people and wounding a fourth. The other victims were killed, Berkowitz claimed, by members of a violent Satanic cult of which he was a member. Though he remains the only person charged with or convicted of the shootings, some law enforcement authorities argue that Berkowitz's claims are credible: according to John Hockenberry [1] of MSNBC, many officials involved in the original "Son of Sam" case suspected that more than one person was perpetrating the murders. Hockenberry also reports that the Son of Sam case was reopened in 1996, and as of 2004, it was still considered open.

Contents [hide]

1 Early life

2 Donna Lauria and Jody Valenti shooting

3 Carl Denaro and Rosemary Keenan shooting

4 Donna DeMasi and Joanne Lomino shooting

5 Christine Freund and John Diel shooting

6 Virginia Voskerichian shooting

7 Press conference of March 10, 1977

8 Publicity and political implications

9 Alexander Esau and Valentina Suriani shooting

10 The "Son of Sam" letter

11 Psychological profile and other police investigations

12 The Breslin letter

13 Police and public response to the Breslin letter

14 Sal Lupo and Judy Placido shooting

15 Stacy Moskowitz and Robert Violente shooting

16 Police activities after the Moskowitz-Violente shooting

17 Suspicion and capture

18 Questioning

19 Sentencing

20 Berkowitz's life in prison

21 Son of Sam Laws

22 Satanic cult claims

22.1 Son of Sam case reopened based on cult claims

22.2 Arlis Perry claims

22.3 The real-life sons of Sam

23 Story adaptations

24 References to Berkowitz in popular culture

25 References

26 Further reading

27 External links

Early life

Berkowitz was born Richard David Falco in Brooklyn, New York, to Betty Falco (nee Broder) and Joseph Kleinman. Broder and her husband Tony Falco had a daughter before they separated without legally divorcing. Betty Falco later had an affair with the married Kleinman,[2] who suggested Falco abort their child. Broder had the baby, but listed Falco as the father.

Before he was a week old, the baby was adopted by hardware store owners Nathan and Pearl Berkowitz, who reversed the order of his first and middle names in addition to giving him their own surname. [2]

John Vincent Sanders[3] writes, "David's childhood was somewhat troubled. Although of above-average intelligence, he lost interest in learning at an early age and began an infatuation with petty larceny and pyromania." Pearl Berkowitz died of breast cancer when David was a teenager, and his relationship with his father became strained, particularly because David disapproved of Nathan's second wife. Berkowitz later claimed his new step-sister was interested in witchcraft and other occult topics, sparking an interest he would later pursue more actively.

Berkowitz joined the U.S. Army in 1971, and was active until his honorable discharge in 1974. He managed to avoid service in the Vietnam War, instead serving in both the U.S. and South Korea. Born to a Jewish mother and father, he briefly and enthusiastically described himself as born again before seeming to lose interest. In 2002 Berkowitz reaffirmed his Jewish faith during a 2002 Larry King interview, saying "I feel that I'm totally Jewish. I was born a Jew, I feel I'm going to leave this world a Jew".[4]Berkowitz's adoptive parents are also Jewish. [2]

In 1974 Berkowitz located his birth mother, Betty Falco. After a few visits, she disclosed the details of his illegitimate conception and birth, which greatly disturbed him. They fell out of contact, but Berkowitz did stay in touch with his half-sister, Roslyn. [2]

Not long after, Berkowitz moved to an apartment in Yonkers.

Police composite sketch of the Lauria-Valenti shooter juxtaposed with a mugshot of David Berkowitz.




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