David Berkowitz : Letter

David Berkowitz : Letter


Signed 2-page letter, with envelope.

1 in stock

David Richard Berkowitz (born Richard David Falco, June 1, 1953), also known as the Son of Sam and the .44 Caliber Killer, is an American serial killer who pleaded guilty to eight shootings that began in New York City on July 29, 1976. Berkowitz grew up in New York City and served in the United States Army. Using a .44 Special caliber Bulldog revolver, he killed six people and wounded seven others by July 1977, terrorizing New Yorkers and gaining worldwide notoriety. Berkowitz eluded the biggest police manhunt in the city’s history while leaving letters that mocked the police and promised further crimes, which were highly publicized by the press.

Berkowitz was arrested on August 10, 1977, and subsequently indicted for eight shootings. He confessed to all of them, and initially claimed to have been obeying the orders of a demon manifested in the form of a black dog belonging to his neighbor, “Sam”. After being found mentally competent to stand trial, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences in state prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. He subsequently admitted that the dog-and-devil story was a hoax. In police investigations, Berkowitz was also implicated in many unsolved arsons in the city.

Intense media coverage of the case lent a kind of celebrity status to Berkowitz, which many observers noted that he seemed to enjoy. The New York State Legislature enacted new statutes, known popularly as “Son of Sam laws”, designed to keep criminals from financially profiting from the publicity created by their crimes. The statutes have remained in New York despite various legal challenges, and similar laws have been enacted in several other states. During the mid-1990s, Berkowitz, by then professing to be a converted evangelical Christian, amended his confession to claim that he had been a member of a violent Satanic cult that orchestrated the incidents as ritual murder. A new investigation of the murders began in 1996 but was suspended indefinitely after inconclusive findings.