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, killing 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 killer.
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 kill] through his dog, as he usually does," David wrote.
He Once Claimed the Hall and Oates Song "Rich Girl" Motivated Him to Kill
Although the Hall and Oates album containing the song "Rich Girl" didn't come out until roughly a month after Berkowitz started killing, he still claimed to be influenced by the lyrics.
He Set Over 1,400 Fires in NYC Before He Turned to Murder
Berkowitz started out his criminal career as an arsonist. He set a reported 1,488 fires in New York City and dutifully recorded each one in his journal - all before he ever killed 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 killing spree.