BBC Home
Explore the BBC
8 May  
Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
About This Site | Text Only
1978: 'Son of Sam' pleads guilty to murders
The man alleged to have murdered six people in a killing spree last year has pleaded guilty to all the charges against him.

David Berkowitz became known as the 'Son of Sam' after taunting letters from him to police investigating the case were published in newspapers.

At a court in Brooklyn, New York, Berkowitz admitted all the killings which last year had residents of three New York boroughs living in fear.

The 24-year-old also admitted wounding seven people before he was arrested last August.

Berkowitz, who acquired his proficiency with guns through a three-year stint in the US army, said he had no motive other than "excitement" for carrying out the shootings.

He showed no emotion as he made the admissions which were against the advice of his lawyers.

They had wanted him to challenge a judge's ruling that he was mentally competent to enter a plea.

'The .44 Killer'

The first killing attributed to Son of Sam occurred in July 1976 when 18-year-old Donna Lauria was shot as she sat in a car with a friend in the Bronx district of New York.

However police did not realise there was a serial killer on the loose until another two people had been murdered and several more injured.

The link was not made until last March when it was found the gun used to kill Ms Lauria had also been used in the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Virginia Voskerichian.

The press initially dubbed Berkowitz "the .44 Killer" after the calibre of gun he used.

However, the Son of Sam nickname was adopted after Berkowitz used the term to describe himself in an anonymous letter to police in April 1977.

He was eventually captured after being linked to the scene of the final killing through a parking ticket issued when he left his car parked illegally.

Berkowitz quickly confessed and claimed he was ordered to kill by a neighbour's dog.

He also admitted to being behind the unsolved stabbings of several women, all of whom survived.

 E-mail this story to a friend

'Son of Sam' David Berkowitz
David Berkowitz was arrested last August

CBS report on the `Son of Sam' case

In Context
In June 1978 David Berkowitz was sentenced to 365 years in jail.

Over the years Berkowitz has hinted he did not work alone.

Conspiracy theorists believe Berkowitz was part of a satanic cult and that others were involved in the shootings.

He remains in prison where he has become a born-again Christian.

He has a website which he uses to declare his remorse for the killings and insist he has no interest in being freed from jail.

Stories From 8 May

Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  

^^ back to top
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
©MMVIII | News Sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy