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Who is the Son of Sam? Serial killer David Berkowitz profiled

The Son of Sam murder spree is the focus of two specials this summer — The Lost Tapes: Son of Sam on the Smithsonian Channel and Son of Sam: Hunt for A Killer on the Investigation Discovery channel.

The shows come as Monday, July 31, marks the 40th anniversary of the date that the killer targeted his last victims.

But who was the Son of Sam?

David Berkowitz, who became known as the Son of Sam killer, was convicted of eight shootings in New York City. His shooting spree began in the summer of 1976.

The search for Berkowitz resulted in the biggest police manhunt in the history of New York.

While he was initially known as The .44-Caliber Killer due to the weapon he used to kill six people and wound seven others, Berkowitz is the one who dreamt up his more-famous moniker.

The killer sent letters to both the police and columnist Jimmy Breslin signing off as “Son of Sam”.

The genesis of the name was revealed after he was caught and he confessed his crimes to the police following his arrest August 10, 1977.

The serial killer claimed to have been taking orders from a demon manifested in the dog of his neighbor Sam.

Despite claiming to be taking orders from a family pet, Berkowitz was found mentally competent to face trial.

He is currently serving six life sentences for his crimes.

The Lost Tapes on Smithsonian will revist the now 40-year-old murders with rare footage from the time period.

Son of Sam: The Hunt for A Killer on Investigation Discovery traces the parallel stories of Berkowitz’s victims and the detectives who hunt him.

Two of Berkowitz’s victims — Donna Lauria and Jody Valenti. Pic: Murderpedia

Henry Schleiff, Group President of Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel and Destination America, said: “The mass hysteria that descended upon New York during 1976 and ’77 is now approaching its 40-year anniversary, but feels like just yesterday to New Yorkers who lived through this terrifying time.”

The Lost Tapes: Son of Sam, premieres Sunday, July 30 at 9/8c on the Smithsonian Channel. Son of Sam: Hunt for A Killer premieres Saturday, August 5  at 9/8c on the Investigation Discovery channel.


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