2016-06-29 / Front Page

Son Of Sam Denied Parole For 15th Time

By Liz Goff
David Berkowitz liked pretty, young women with long hair. He thought women in Queens were “the prettiest of all” – to kill, that is.l.

The “Son of Sam” killer-turned-prison-preacher is once again lobbying for release from prison. In his 15th bid for freedom, Berkowitz is claiming that his role as a caregiver to fellow inmates and the fact that he is a “model inmate” qualify him for parole/

The “Son of Sam” killer said his acts of kindness and compassion toward fellow inmates should be included in his evaluation. “I’ve done a lot of good things,” Berkowitz said.

The parole board ruled unanimously that Berkowitz would remain behind bars at the maximum security Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill, New York, where he is serving a life sentence for six brutal murders, seven attempted murders and a host of other charges. Berkowitz was transferred to Shawangunk in April, after serving more than 38-years at the maximum security Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg.

This August marks the 39th anniversary of Berkowitz’ capture – and the end of a killing spree that rocked the serenity of Queens’ tree-lined neighborhoods.

Berkowitz, 24, was, by appearance, a polite, quiet and even-tempered postal worker when he started killing people in July 1976. But there was a dark side to Berkowitz, who claimed a 5,000-year-old demon named Sam spoke to him through a neighbor’s dog. Sam told him to kill young women, Berkowitz said.

The killing began on a street in the Bronx on July 29, 1976, when Berkowitz shot and killed Donna Lauria, 18, and injured her boyfriend, Jody Valenti, as the couple sat in a car outside Lauria’s home. Police who responded to the scene noted the killer used a .44-caliber bulldog revolver.

Berkowitz struck again four months later, this time in Queens, where he ambushed a couple as they sat in a car on a street in Flushing. Again, the weapon was identified as a .44-caliber bulldog revolver.

Berkowitz continued his reign of terror when, on November 27, 1976, he shot and seriously wounded two women as they sat talking on the porch of a home in Bellerose, Queens. The weapon used in the shootings was a .44-caliber bulldog revolver.

By now, the media was calling Berkowitz “the .44-Caliber Killer,” in daily accounts of the attacks. Young women in Queens hurried to hair stylists to cut their long locks and couples stopped parking on “lovers lanes,” fearful they would be the killer’s next victims.

Berkowitz was dubbed a serial killer in early 1977 when he shot four women in two separate attacks in Forest Hills. The first, on January 29, 1977, was followed by a second, more violent attack two months later.

The next killing took place in the Bronx, where Berkowitz left a letter in the street next to the crime scene that introduced him as the “Son of Sam.”

Berkowitz addressed the letter to NYPD Det. Joseph Borelli, lead investigator in the killings. The paunchy mailman said he was “deeply hurt” by media references where Borelli called him a “woman hater.”

Berkowitz wrote, “I am not (a woman hater.) I am a monster. I am the “Son of Sam…I am on a different wavelength than everyone else – programmed to kill. To stop me you must kill me.

“Attention all police,” Berkowitz wrote. “Shoot me first – shoot to kill or else keep out of my way or you will die.

“I love to hunt. Prowling the street looking for fair game – tasty meat,” he wrote. “The wemon of Queens are prettyist of all. I must be the water they drink. I live for the hunt – my life. Blood for papa.”

At 2:30 a.m. on July 31, 1977, Stacy Moskowitz and her date, Bobby Violante, were just about to get out of his Buick to walk along Shore Road in Brooklyn when a frightened Stacy turned to Bobby and asked, “What if Son of Sam is hiding there?”

“Are you kidding?” Bobby replied. “This is Brooklyn, not Queens.”

Seconds later, Stacy was dead and Bobby was blinded. Berkowitz was waiting in the darkness, but this time he made a mistake.

A woman walking her dog told police she spotted a man running to a car parked at a nearby fire hydrant – a car that had just been ticketed by police. Detectives traced the car to an address in Yonkers and to its registered owner, David Berkowitz.

Berkowitz said that early on the night of August 10, 1977 the “demons” drove him to place every weapon he owned in his car. He would later tell police the demons did not tell him to kill that night.

On that same night, two officers sent to investigate the parking ticket spotted the car parked outside Berkowitz’ address. The officers spotted a machine gun on the back seat of the car, alerted detectives and then waited.

On August 11, 1977, Det. John Falotico led a team of officers in an early morning stakeout of Berkowitz’ apartment at 15 Pine Street in Yonkers. When Berkowitz finally appeared outside the building, Falotico and a full backup of cops pounced on the serial killer. Two cops pointed guns at Berkowitz’ head as Falotico asked, “Who are you?”

“You know,” Berkowitz replied. “No I don’t,” Falotico said. “Tell me who you are.”

Berkowitz broke out in a broad smile and announced, “I am Son of Sam.”

Berkowitz was convicted of all charges and was sentenced to consecutive terms in prison, totaling 547 years.

Berkowitz, now 63, was since ordained a jailhouse minister, preaching to fellow inmates and to the public on an upstate cable TV talk show. He told members of the Parole Board that he has helped mental health inmates, held bible studies and graduated from Sullivan Community College during his time behind bars.

“I continue to go forward with my life,” Berkowitz told the panel. “I have done a lot of good things.” When members of the panel asked him where the rage behind the killings came from, Berkowitz said, “That’s beyond my comprehension.”

Berkowitz will be eligible again for parole in May 2018.

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