The Bizarre Book Written By The Son Of Sam

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In 1977, the New York State Legislature rushed to pass New York Executive Law Section 632a, more commonly known as the Son of Sam law. From 1976 to 1977, New York City had been terrorized by the so-called Son of Sam, a serial killer who shot his victims in cold blood with a .44-caliber revolver. By the time his killing spree ended and he was caught, six people had been brutally killed and seven more were left wounded, according to History.

In August of 1977, police finally apprehended David Berkowitz, a 24-year-old U.S. postal worker, in connection with the crimes. However, a media frenzy had built up around the unsolved murders, so when Berkowitz was finally caught, people feared that he would use his crimes to make money by selling the rights to his story to the highest bidder. The state hastened to put a stop to it, enacting the law that prevented "those accused or convicted of a crime from profiting from the commercial exploitation of their crimes," via The First Amendment Encyclopedia. Instead, all proceeds from any books, TV shows, movies, articles, or other media about the crimes would be donated to benefit the victims.

David Berkowitz published his prison journals in 2006

However, while the Son of Sam law exists to prevent criminals from profiting off their heinous crimes, that doesn't stop them from writing and publishing books about their experiences. In fact, David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam himself for which the law is named, even wrote and published a book from prison in 2006, according to Listverse. But while one might expect a book written by a notorious serial killer to be somewhat gruesome, it was neither a grisly confessional nor a roundabout way for Berkowitz to garner more attention for the awful acts he committed during the summer of 1977. In fact, it was the opposite.

Entitled "Son of Hope," the book was a collection of Berkowitz's prison journals, which chronicle his journey from murderer to devout follower of Christianity. In his journals, Berkowitz recounts how he came to embrace Jesus Christ as his savior and was reborn as a Christian (via Amazon). Although the book doesn't necessarily address his criminal acts, Berkowitz still never made any money off the book's sales. A portion of all the proceeds is instead given to benefit Berkowitz's victims.

Other authors have published books about the Son of Sam murders

But while Berkowitz himself may have never written a book detailing his crimes, that doesn't mean there aren't plenty out there. The general public remained intensely curious about the grisly shootings, so to help scratch that itch, several books about the Son of Sam were published by other individuals, including "Son of Sam: The .44-Caliber Killer," written by George Carpozi Jr. before Berkowitz even went to trial, and "Son of Sam" by Lawrence D. Klausner.

But perhaps one of the most popular books to cover the Son of Sam shootings was written by investigative journalist Maury Terry, who became obsessed with the case following Berkowitz's arrest. In 1987, he published the bestselling book "The Ultimate Evil: The Search for the Sons of Sam," which put forth the theory that Berkowitz had not acted alone, but rather had committed the crimes at the behest of a satanic cult known as the Process Church of Final Judgement. Terry pointed to many inconsistencies about the lone wolf theory, including wildly differing eyewitness descriptions of the shooter, as well as statements from Berkowitz himself, with whom Terry had struck up a correspondence in the late 1980s, according to Oxygen. While the theory that a cult was behind the crimes might sound outlandish, the unsettling questions that Terry raised about the strange and unusual Son of Sam murders persist to this day.