Essay on David Berkowitz “Son of Sam”

The murders he committed


At this time, he felt the need to kill people. Three times he attacked the women with a knife, but never was able to inflict serious injury. Then, David bought a “Bulldog” .44-caliber. On July 29, 1976 Berkowitz shot two persons in the car: 18-year-old Laurie Donna and 19-year-old Jody Valente. Donna, received two bullets in the neck and arm, and died on arrival at hospital. Jody, who was injured in the thigh, survived and later gave a description of the offender. The next attack Berkowitz made only three months later. On October 23, 1976 in Flushing Meadow Park, he saw 20-year-old Carl Denaro and 18-year-old Rosemary Keenan in red “Volkswagen”. David began to shoot them both because Carl with his long hair was mistaken by Berkowitz for a female. However, only one to five bullets hit Denaro in the back of his head. Rosemary Keenan was not injured. Late in the evening of November 27, Berkowitz came to 16-year-old Donna DeMasi and 18-year-old Joanne Lomino, shot five times in the girls and ran away. Only two bullets reached the goal: Joanne received a bullet in the spine, and Donna in the neck. Both survived, but Joanne became disabled. On January 30, 1977 Berkowitz fired at the car in which there were 30-year-old John Diel and his girlfriend, 26-year-old Christine Freund. John survived, but Christine, wounded to the head, died at hospital.

In the evening of March 8, 19-year-old Bulgarian Virginia Voskerichian became the victim of a maniac. Meeting her on the street in the borough of Queens, Berkowitz drew his pistol and shot in the girl’s head.

On April 14 the policemen launched an operation named “Omega” in order to capture the “.44 Caliber Killer”. Inspector Timothy Dowd commanded a special police unit.

On April 16, 1977, Berkowitz committed a double murder in the Bronx, killing 18-year-old Valentina Suriani and 20-year-old Alexander Esau.

On April 30 correspondent “New York Daily News” Jimmy Breslin received a letter from David Berkowitz who wrote as follows:

“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 thedelicacies when they are washed away by the sweeper trucks. Hello from the cracks in the sidewalks of N.Y.C. and from the ants that dwell in these cracks and feed on the dried blood of the dead that has seeped into these cracks. J.B., I’m just dropping you a line to let you know that I appreciate your interest in those recent and horrendous .44 killings. I also want to tell you that I read your column daily and I find it quite informative” (Nazaryan par. 9).

The New York people began to panic after the letter was published in the newspaper. That message has put New Yorkers at first in shock, then in horror. Due to this fact, a well-known serial killer was named as the “Son of Sam” (as it is known, the word-combination “Uncle Sam” means the United States of America). As the police search did not give any results yet, the citizens were ready to defend themselves. They organized volunteer squads of society’s defenders against a maniac.

On June 25 Berkowitz went on the hunt again. At this time, the objects of his attack became 20-year-old Salvatore Lupo and 17-year-old Judy Placido. Shot through the car window, the killer wounded both, but the victims survived. David took revenge on July 31 about 2:00 pm in Brooklyn and shot a kissing couple: 20-year-old Robert Violante and Stacy Moskowitz. The bullets injured Robert’s visual and auditory nerves, and Stacey died after two days.




But this time the luck was over for the murderer. That evening, Berkowitz parked his car in the wrong place, and he was fined. He was found owing to the penalty receipts. In the interior of his car, the policemen found a bag with a gun and another envelope containing a letter addressed to Timothy Dowd.  The killer promised to shoot the disco visitors in Long Island. The arrest went smoothly: Berkowitz left the house in jeans, summer white shirt and brown shoes, with his famous paper bag in his hands. He opened the car door and saw a number of police gun units directed at him. The first words upon his arrest were as follows, “You got me. What took you so long?” (Terry 113). One of the biggest investigations of the criminal in the history of New York came to an end. As a result, in mid-summer 1978 David Berkowitz was put behind the bars for the murder of 6 killed and 7 wounded.

Berkowitz has been diagnosed as a “paranoid schizophrenic” and sentenced to more than 300 years in prison. He was sent to a penal colony in Attica. Talking about his serial killer tendencies, it is possible to mention that “his motivation behind the killings revealed both paranoid and schizophrenic tendencies” (Gibson 24). “Today Berkowitz is a born-again Christian and described as a model prisoner” (Montaldo par. 12).

Taking the above-mentioned information into consideration, it is possible to say that the “Son of Sam”, who is still alive, gives an interview on the religious themes. In 1999 he wrote an essay “My story” about his spiritual (as opposed to criminal) development and even a religious appeal to young people titled “With love in Christ” that is, in prison, as once in the army, he became a preacher of Christianity.

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