What Happened To Serial Killer Son Of Sam?

The 1970s were a particularly unsafe and scary decade in many parts of the U.S., no thanks to the many serial killers who roamed the streets during that time. One of the most notorious of these individuals was David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz, who killed six people and injured seven others before he was arrested on August 10, 1977. Unlike other serial killers, who tried their best to keep a low profile to avoid the long arm of the law, Berkowitz seemed to enjoy the attention of being a wanted man, sending numerous letters to law enforcement and the press and openly boasting of his crimes. It was almost as if he was daring police to catch him, and when they did, the people of New York City were finally able to sleep at night, knowing that a deadly killer would soon be brought to justice.

Although most of us know that Berkowitz remains behind bars to this day, you may be wondering what became of him after he received the maximum allowable penalty for his crimes and was sentenced to 25-years-to-life for each of the six murders he committed (via History). Here's what happened to the "Son of Sam" in the decades since his incarceration.

Berkowitz claimed to be part of satanic cult that helped with the murders

During his early years in prison, Berkowitz claimed multiple times that he wasn't working alone in his killing spree. According to Murderpedia, he hinted that he was a member of a cult that sacrificed animals to Satan and dabbled in child pornography on the side. Despite previously confessing to his crimes, he seemed to change his tune in prison, claiming that he was not the actual gunman, but rather one of the many lookouts for the real perpetrators. Specifically, he named John and Michael Carr as two of the shooters. If their last name sounds familiar, that's because their father, Sam Carr, was the retiree whose Labrador retriever, Harvey, was supposedly possessed by a demon that gave Berkowitz his orders to kill. (The above article, however, also suggests that John Carr was the dog's actual owner.)

The above claims were endorsed by author Maury Terry in his 1987 book The Ultimate Evil, and Terry's research was apparently so comprehensive that it convinced John Santucci, who was then working as Queens' district attorney, to reopen Berkowitz's case. But even with that in mind, as well as the skepticism of some police who thought Berkowitz might not have acted alone, nobody else has been charged in relation to the Son of Sam murders. Meanwhile, John and Michael Carr both died in the late 1970s and Berkowitz declined to offer too many details on the other people who purportedly helped him with the killings.

The 'Son of Hope': David Berkowitz now identifies as a born-again Christian

It's not uncommon for violent criminals to find God while behind bars, and Berkowitz is one such example. As quoted by People in 2017, author and criminologist Scott Bonn revealed that Berkowitz "reached a bottoming-out" sometime in 1987 and was at a point where he was considering suicide. Things changed for him that same year as he discovered religion and became a born-again Christian.

Speaking to People, minister Roxanne Tauriello explained that Berkowitz no longer wants to be known by his old "Son of Sam" moniker because it reminds him of the innocent lives he had taken as a young man. "David grieves over that a lot, and you can't say to him — you never want to say 'Son of Sam' in front of him," she said. "He never uses that name, ever."

Despite his apparent conversion and his desire to be the "Son of Hope" for his fellow inmates, not everyone was impressed by Berkowitz's decision to embrace religion. Retired NYPD police captain Joe Borrelli, for one, stressed that Berkowitz should remain in jail because his conversion "doesn't make up for all those young women he killed." However, Tauriello maintained that Berkowitz was, at that time, a "genuinely sorrowful" man who believes he should spend the rest of his life in prison for his crimes. "He knows he deserved to die and deserves to be exactly where he is," she added.

Oxygen reports that Netflix will stream a four-part documentary series, The Sons of Sam, beginning May 5.