David Berkowitz (Richard David Falco)
BiographyThe Bronx, New York City, New York, USA
Born David Falco to Betty Broder. His mother had him out of wedlock when she had an affair with a married real-estate agent named Joseph Kleinman. She named him Falco after her married name - her husband Tony Falco had left her and her daughter Roslyn a few years before that. His mother gave him up for adoption to Nathan and Pearl Berkowitz who named him David Berkowitz. Being rejected by his birth mother caused David to develop an inferiority complex especially with women and thought he was unappealing to them. He worked as a postman and a security guard. Read more... he 'heard voices' in his head that ordered him to kill. He began to blame these voices on his neighbour Sam Carr's black labrador that kept him up at night by its barking. He would send hate letters to Carr and in April 1977 even shot and wounded the dog. On July 29, 1976 he killed his first official victim. His modus operandi was to approach unsuspecting people late at night, pull out a gun from a brown paper bag and shoot them at point blank range. Most of his victims were couples, necking in their cars or in a park late at night. His female victims tended to be brunettes with long hair, which caused a scare in parts of New York and had women 'blonding' themselves and cutting their hair short to avoid being targetted. Couples were also advised not to stay out late at night by the local authorities as the serial killings escalated. They were all shot with a .44 calibre bulldog gun and hence his first nickname by the press - "the .44 killer". Most crimes occured in the boroughs of Bronx and Queens but other parts of the city felt the terror too. The police task force for the case - 'Operation Omega' was formed. Inside the car of one of the victims the police found a letter. One was addressed to Cpt. Joseph Borelli and another to NY columnist Jimmy Breslin (June 1, 1977). The killer identified himself as "Sam's" and now the press had a new monicker - "Son of Sam". The last "S.o.S" killing took place on July 31, 1977. A witness had seen a young man (David) near the crime scene walking away with something tucked under his jacket. He was observed removing a parking ticket from a yellow Ford Galaxie that had blocked a fire hydrant. The police traced tickets in that area to Berkowitz address in Yonkers. Inside the car they found a loaded .44. They waited for him and when he approached the car they arrested the pudgy unassuming postman. He surrendered without a fight and confessed to being 'Son of Sam'. Though diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic he was found sane enough for trial. On August 23, 1977 he was sentenced to 365 years, which he is serving at Attica.