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David Berkowitz (Sun of Sam)

Related: serial killer - USA


David Falco Berkowitz (born June 1, 1953), better known by his nickname Son of Sam, is an infamous 1970s New York City serial killer who killed six people and wounded several others. His given name was David Falco—Berkowitz was the name of his adoptive parents.

Berkowitz struggled with being adopted and with the concept that his mother did not want him. His murders began after a 3-year enlistment in the United States Army, the first occurring on July 29, 1976 when he fired into a car where two girls sat, wounding Jody Valentini and killing Donna Lauria.

The "Son of Sam" nickname came from a neighbor/landlord Sam Carr. Sam Carr was a "high demon" who sent his "evil" labrador to command Berkowitz to kill. After his fourth attack in January 1977, authorities realized that he targeted teen girls with long, dark hair and young couples. Berkowitz began writing letters to the media, and was arrested on August 10, 1977. He had been issued a parking ticket near the scene of his final crime, and police investigation led them to Berkowitz, who immediately confessed. He was sentenced on June 12, 1978 to 365 years in prison for the killings.

Berkowitz claimed to receive his orders to kill from an acquaintance's barking dog. He now says that story was untrue and that during the time of the killings, he was a Satanist. He survived at least one attempt on his life in prison, but his behavior in prison early in his sentence earned him the nickname of "David Berserkowitz." Berkowitz became a born-again Christian in 1987 in prison and now works as a chaplain. In March 2002, Berkowitz wrote a letter to New York governor George Pataki asking that his parole hearing be cancelled. "I can give you no good reason why I should even be considered." In June 2004, he was denied his second parole, even after he stated that he does not want one. The board saw that Berkowitz has a good record in the prison programs, but the viciousness of his criminal acts call for him to stay in jail. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DavidBerkowitz [Jul 2004]

Summer of Sam (1999) - Spike Lee

  1. Summer of Sam (1999) - Spike Lee [Amazon.com]

    It's important to note that Spike Lee's drama is not titled Son of Sam. Summer of Sam doesn't chronicle the killer as much as the times: the blistering hot summer of 1977 when the Big Apple's psyche was taken hostage by the lone gunman. We spot the killer (Michael Badalucco) in his mad ramblings, but the film centers on two friends from the Bronx: Vinny and Ritchie (John Leguizamo, Adrien Brody). Vinny and his wife, Dionna (Mira Sorvino), bury a bad marriage (he cheats at a drop of a hat) in the disco halls of the area. Ritchie returns to the neighborhood sporting punk hair, punk clothes, and a British accent that immediately infuriates the neighborhood boys oozing far too much testosterone. Cops, local mob leaders, and the guys on the street all have ideas who the killer is; neighborhood loners to Reggie Jackson (in the midst of World Series heroism) are on their misguided lists of suspects. When the film looks at how the citizens faced the fearful times, Lee scores with his energetic camerawork and pop soundtrack. Yet the film is banal in its domestic dramatics. The film takes large detours into Vinny's home sex life (stagnant) and Ritchie's extracurricular activities. One of the marriage arguments--though real and well acted--is so long and cliché-ridden you wonder if someone fell asleep in the editing booth. Add the point-blank killings and nonstop vulgarity and you have Lee's most unpleasant film. --Doug Thomas for Amazon.com

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