13 Bizarre Facts About David Berkowitz, AKA The Son Of Sam

Who was David Berkowitz? A serial killer better known as the Son of Sam, he was also called the .44 Caliber Killer. Born Richard David Falco, David Berkowitz terrorized New York City in the 1970s, slaying six people and wounding seven more before he was caught. He targeted couples and young women with long, dark hair, a decision many link to his obsessions surrounding his absent birth mother and deceased adoptive mother, as well as his inability to meet women. About women, he said, "I didn't want to hurt them, I only wanted to kill them."

The Son of Sam is famous for believing he was controlled by his neighbor's dog, but there are many more Son of Sam facts that are less well-known today, including the fact that he is now believed to be a Christian prophet by fringe believers today. Read on for more facts about this mysterious and misunderstood serial slayer.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

  • He Said He Was Controlled By A Spirit Living Inside His Neighbor's Dog

    Among Berkowitz's many stated reasons for why he committed his crimes, one stands out - he once claimed that his neighbor's dog contained the soul of a 6,000-year-old man named Sam.

    "He told me [to commit violent acts] through his dog, as he usually does," David wrote

  • He Once Claimed The Hall & Oates Song 'Rich Girl' Motivated Him To Kill

    He Once Claimed The Hall & Oates Song 'Rich Girl' Motivated Him To Kill
    Video: YouTube

    Although the Hall & Oates album containing the song "Rich Girl" didn't come out until roughly six months after Berkowitz started his spree, he still claimed to be influenced by the lyrics.

  • He Set Over 1,400 Fires In NYC Before He Turned To Murder

    He Set Over 1,400 Fires In NYC Before He Turned To Murder
    Photo: Unknown / PxHere / Public Domain

    Berkowitz started out his criminal career as an arsonist.

    He set over 1,400 fires in New York City and dutifully recorded them in his journal - all before he ever took out his first victim.

  • He Left Handwritten Notes For Police Near His Victims' Bodies

    After killing Alexander Esau and Valentina Suriani on April 16, 1977, Berkowitz left a letter near their bodies. It was addressed to "Captain Joe Borelli of Operation Omega" and in it, he claimed to be "the Son of Sam."

    This new moniker stuck with him as Berkowitz continued his spree. 

  • He Targeted Young Women With Long, Dark Hair

    For reasons that are still not completely understood, Berkowitz targeted young women in their 20s that had long, dark hair. After his victim profile made the news, many women in the New York City area cut their hair and dyed it other colors in order to ensure their safety.

    After taking out one target, Berkowitz said, "I was literally singing to myself on my way home, after the killing. The tension, the desire to kill a woman had built up in me to such explosive proportions that when I finally pulled the trigger, all the pressures, all the tensions, hatred, had just vanished, dissipated, but only for a short time."

  • He Also Targeted Couples In Cars

    Berkowitz targeted couples in cars. He once stated, "The girls call me ugly and they bother me the most." Some believed he was jealous of the couples, since he had a hard time attracting and dating women.

    He targeted three different couples during his spree, though fortunately, some of these victims survived.