David Berkowitz

Son of Sam, .44 Caliber Killer

Confirmed Kills
Suspected Kills
Total Possible Kills
Years Active
June 1, 1953
Sentenced to life imprisonment
Alive or Dead?
In Prison (Life)
US States Operated
New York
Info Box

David Berkowitz, also known as the Son of Sam, is one of the most infamous serial killers in American history. Between 1976 and 1977, Berkowitz terrorized New York City, killing six people and injuring several others. Here is a timeline of the events surrounding his crimes:


  • On July 29, Berkowitz shoots and kills Donna Lauria and injures her friend, Jody Valenti, in the Bronx.
  • On October 23, Berkowitz kills two women, Rosemary Keenan and Carl Denaro, and injures another, Donna DeMasi, in Queens.


  • On January 30, Berkowitz kills Christine Freund and injures her friend, John Diel, in Queens.
  • On March 8, Berkowitz kills Virginia Voskerichian in Queens.
  • On April 17, Berkowitz kills Alexander Esau and Valentina Suriani in the Bronx.
  • On July 31, Berkowitz is arrested outside his apartment in Yonkers, New York, after being spotted by police while he was attempting to leave a letter at a crime scene.

Berkowitz’s crimes were characterized by their randomness and brutality. He targeted young women with long hair, often shooting them from his car before fleeing the scene. Berkowitz later claimed that he was being commanded to kill by a demon that spoke to him through his neighbor’s dog.

After his arrest, Berkowitz was found to be mentally competent to stand trial. He pleaded guilty to the murders and was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences. Berkowitz has been incarcerated at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill, New York, since his conviction.

Berkowitz’s crimes and subsequent capture were heavily covered by the media at the time, and he remains a subject of fascination for true crime enthusiasts to this day. His case has also had a significant impact on criminal justice in the United States, particularly in the areas of mental health and the insanity defense.

One of the most striking aspects of the Son of Sam case is the extent to which it captured the public imagination. Berkowitz’s crimes and the subsequent manhunt were heavily covered by the media, leading to widespread fear and panic in New York City. The killer’s taunting letters to the police and the media only served to heighten the tension and sense of terror.

In the wake of the Son of Sam case, the New York State Legislature passed a law known as the “Son of Sam Law,” which sought to prevent convicted criminals from profiting from their crimes through book or movie deals. The law was eventually struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, but it remains a testament to the impact that Berkowitz’s crimes had on American society.

Another key aspect of the Son of Sam case was the role that mental illness played in the killer’s actions. Berkowitz’s claims of being commanded to kill by a demon sparked a national conversation about the insanity defense and the treatment of mental illness in the criminal justice system. While Berkowitz was found to be competent to stand trial, his case highlighted the need for greater understanding and treatment of mental illness in both the criminal justice system and society at large.

Despite the passage of time, the Son of Sam case continues to captivate and disturb people to this day. Berkowitz himself has become a kind of antihero for some, with his letters and interviews being the subject of countless articles, books, and documentaries. For others, however, he remains a chilling reminder of the darkness that can lurk within human beings and the need for vigilance and justice in the face of such horrors.