Throughout history we have witnessed gruesome murders and the serial killers behind them. Serial killers like Ted Bundy, the BTK killer, and one of New York’s own, and most memorable killers the .44 Caliber killer, also known as the “Son of Sam” killer. For over a year David Berkowitz, known as Son of Sam, was able to remain uncaught walking the streets committing these shootings wounding and murdering many people. The criminal investigation that was conducted to capture this violent serial killer was very complex and widely talked about because Berkowitz spread out his shootings over a course of a year and committed them every few months making it hard for police to find a trail to follow. This paper will discuss the early life of David Berkowitz giving us some insight on how and why he committed these crimes, an overview of the victims and why they were chosen, what investigative measures were used to track him down and lock him up, and also what happened to him after he was finally caught.
First, to understand why David Berkowitz committed all of his shootings, we must understand where he came from, and how he was raised. When Berkowitz was born he was put up immediately for adoption. He was adopted by owners of a hardware store in the Bronx, New York. (http://crime.about.com/od/murder/p/sonofsam.htm). While he was being brought up, there were stories of Berkowitz having problems with bullying, stealing and having a fascination with fire (CITATION). Berkowitz adopted parents were not very social people, which would also lead Berkowitz to follow in there footsteps being more of a loner and separating himself from other people (CITATION). When Berkowitz was thirteen years old his mother died of breast cancer, and this was the first time that Berkowitz was remembered to ever really show any emotion as a child. Many people said that after his adopted mother’s death Berkowitz became a little bit colder and little bit shrewder (CITATOIN). When Berkowitz turned eighteen he joined the United States Army where he was qualified as a marksman, which is average among other enlistees, between expert and infantry (CITATION). After four years in the army Berkowitz left and began searching for his birth mother. When he found his birth mother he found out that he was the product of an extramarital affair and that his biological father was indeed dead. This news seemed to greatly disturb him (CITATION). It would be soon after this discovery that Berkowitz would commit his first crime and make what would ultimately become his serial killing debut.
Moreover, Berkowitz began his serial killing on July 29th, 1976 when he gunned down Jody Valenti a young female, and Donna Lauria, another young female. They were shot while inside their car. They were sitting outside Donnas’ apartment in the Northern Bronx while parked and talking. Berkowitz approached the vehicle by walking up to the car with a gun in a brown paper bag, taking it out and unloading five rounds into his targets(CITATION). Lauria died instantly with a gunshot wound to her neck while Valenti was shot in the leg. Although unknown at the time whether or not this attacker would strike again, Valenti was able to give a description of a short chubby dark haired man, which helped police generate a sketch. Also, from taking a look at the ballistics and the bullets and casings that were left at the scene, analysts were able to determine that a .44 Bulldog revolver was used in the shooting, a gun used solely for the purpose of killing (CITATION).
Berkowitz next attack would occur on October 23rd 1976. Berkowitz approached a red Volkswagen and pulled out his .44 Bulldog and unloaded five rounds into eighteen year old Rosemary Keenan and twenty year old Carl Denaro. They both had just left a bar and drove off to a spot in queens to be alone. Denaro had long dark hair, and was mistaken as a girl to Berkowitz. Denaro was shot in the back of the head, but was not killed. He lost a piece...
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