I will be discussing his child hood and the phases he went through. I will also be talking about how he was trained in weaponry and how he chose his victims, he also had the state of New York turmoil. David and his disorder of schizophrenia played a role in his killing spree of woman. I will also go into talking about his capture and time in jail. In writing about a serial murder you must first defined what a serial murder is.
According to Bartol (2002) a serial murder is usually reservised for incidents in which an individual (or individuals) kills a number of individuals (usually a minimum of three) over time. The time intervals- sometimes referred to as the cooling off period- may be days or weeks, but more likely more likely months of years. The cooling off period is the main difference between serial murders and multiple murders. The murders are premeditated and planned, and the offender usually selects specific victims.
Betty Flaco, his mother already had one child form a previous marriage.
Betty soon began an affair with a married man. Things with her affair got disrupted when she became pregnant with David. David was born on June 1, 1953 in an undesirable circumstance. He was a product of a thirteen year affair with a business man with children of his own. The father of David vowed to leave her unless she gave up the child, so she arranged for his adoption. Three days after David’s birth Nathaniel and pearl Berkowitz brought him home.
Nat and Pearl were a Jewish couple, they celebrated Sabbath every Friday and went to Temple.
They gave David all the attention and affection they could. David and his family lived I a one bedroom apartment, he shared bedroom with his parents until he was nine years old. David was very close to his mother and he was kind of distant with his adopted father. David also resented his father because of the physical closeness he had with his mother. He did not like to share his mother with anyone or anything; David poisoned his mother’s parakeet and also poisoned her tropical fish because his mother paid to much attention to them.
His neighbors remember him as a nice looking boy but he had a violent streak, a bully who assaulted neighborhood kids for no apparent reason. He was hyperactive and very difficult for Pearl and Nat to control. David was not a good student, he didn’t like school because he hated to be separated form his mother. He would fake being sick to sty home with him mother. During his school years he would lash out at authorities by starting fires, thieving, vandalizing property and hurting or killing animals. He prided himself on never getting caught that was the thrill.
David liked the fact that he could lie his way through a situation and not get caught. In a diary he kept he admitted starting over 200 fires in the Queens- Brooklyn area. According to Dr. Robert Simon, author of Bad Men Do What Good Men Dream, a fire setting by a child is usually a symptomatic expression of sexual and aggressive over stimulation. Fire often expresses the child’s hyperactive excitement and deep seated anger. The sight of fire is thought to be sexually arousing in children and sexually immature adults. His destructive and deviant behavior was never discovered because he was secretive and a loner.
Though he had a few friends he was unable to establish any lasting relationships because no one was more important to David. David’s world drastically changed when he was fourteen. Just two months after his Bar Mitzvah his mother Pearl died of breast cancer. He felt abandoned because he was not even told his mother was sick. David graduated from high school in 1971, his constant absent almost made him ineligible for graduation. Nat his adopted father married a women, she had a twenty five year old daughter that was smart, and very social. David was jealous of this so he left there home and wondered around.
He also attended a community college to please his father. That same year he enlisted into the Army. David was very patriotic and wanted to die for a cause. This is where he learned his marksmen skills, he was very good with rifles, and he stayed in the Army for three years. David wanted to go to Vietnam but instead was stationed to Korea. He then transferred back to the states in 1973 to Fort Knox, Kentucky. During this time in the Army he also converted to Judaism, but lost interest. David was discharged in from the Army in 1974 with no job and no place to live.
He moved back in with his father and wife, but that didn’t work out because of the wife’s daughter. In December of 1974 David started to look for his biological family. Believing that his biological mother was died in child birth, he was searching for his biological father. His whole life he carried around the guilt of killing his mother, only to find out that is was a lie. A copy of his birth certificate gave him his birth name, Richard David Flaco, the name of his mother. He met his mother in 1975, she did not reject him outright but they had a few discouraging meetings.
It was not what David expected, he was disappointed in the meetings because he found out that he had an older sister half sister, who was not put up for adoption, then he found out that he was illegitimate and the man listed on his birth certificate was not his father. The most injury was caused when he found out that he was given up because he was not wanted by his mother and her lover, he was an accident, nothing more than a mistake. This is the beginning of the Berkowitz and his victims. Around Christmas 1975, David went to see a psychiatrist about a problem with him having demons tormenting him.
On Christmas Eve David attached a fourteen year old girl with a 32 inch hunting knife, it was his first attempt at killing, and he chose her because he thought she would be an easy pray. To his surprise she fought back and screamed her head off, she had six wounds form the hunting knife but escaped with her life. Soon after this incident he moved to Westchester County. His apartment was in an attic of a privet home, he left after three month over an argument with the landlady about her dogs. Berkowitz was working as a night watchman and her dogs kept him awake.
In April of 1976, he moved to Yonkers into a small studio apartment. He had the same problems at this apartment too. Berkowitz fought his murderous urges for a while, but six months after his first attempt of murder he perched a 44 caliber hand gun, with the purpose of murdering women. According to Michael Newton in Berkowitz own words, his reason for wanting to kill was that he was “determined and in full agreement with myself that I must slay a women for revenge purpose and to get back at them for all the suffering they caused me. ” David didn’t know his dictums before hand, pretty much any young lady would do.
He didn’t stalk his victims, he stalked the neighborhood by familiarizing himself with landmarks, streets, alleys and escape routes. His first victims were close to his childhood home in the Bronx. In the late hours of July 29, 1976 Donna Laurie and Jody Valenti were sitting in a parked car, on an open street talking. Berkowitz walked up to the passenger side of the car held the gun with one had and fired into the side window, killing Donna and wounding Jody in the thigh. Berkowitz went out hunting every night with the intention on killing a woman.
He would later tell the police that when hunting would come up empty he would visit his previous crime sense to relive the joy and power of the moment and then go home to masturbate. On October 23, 1976 Berkowitz struck again, this time in Queens. He walked up to a red Volkswagen Bug where Rosemary Keenan and Carl Denaro were making out, raised the gun to the passenger side window and fired four shots. One bullet hit Carl DeNaro, shattering his skull. The other three shots went wild, none hitting Rosemary. DeNaro had long hair and was sitting in the “traditional” girl side of the car.
Berkowitz was upset with himself because he missed the girl and shot the boy instead. His next two victims, Donna DeMasi and Joanne Lomino, were shot a month later, on November 27th while sitting on Joanne’s porch in Queens. Anxious he walked right up to the porch and raised his gun and fired at both the girls. Donna was wounded in the neck, and Joanne was hit in the spine, and later paralyzed her form the waist down. In February of 1977 Berkowitz shot Christine Freud and John Diehl. Christine Freund died within hours. This shooting was different from the rest because Berkowitz used two hands and the shooters stance for more control.
Secondly and most importantly, he had no fear, by his own admission he was becoming more cold blooded. He had Berkowitz had succeeded in justifying his crimes and had convinced himself that it was good to do it. The media was in a panic and they named this unknown killer the . 44-Caliber Killer. On March 8, 1977 David was prowling the streets for hours looking for another victim. He found her within a block of the spot where he had shot Christine Freund to death. For no particular reason he chose Virginia Voskerichian, a pretty, intelligent young lady who was walking home from Bernard College.
Berkowitz walked up to her, crouched and raised his gun in both hands and shot through her textbook that she held in front of her face for self defense. Later that evening he watched the news and gloated. The next day he bought the New York Daily News, The NY Times and The Post and the headlines screamed of his exploits. He was getting to know his audience and he was getting bolder. April was a busy month for David, he started writing anonymous letters campaign against Sam Carr, threatening his life, because his dog barked to much. He accused Carr of tormenting him and ruining his life.
A few days later he shot the dog with a . 2 pistol. On the evening of April 16th David set another fire. The next night around the corner form his first shooting, David shot Valentina Suriani and Alexander Esau while they were sitting in a parked car. The murders were becoming more frequent Berkowitz considered this shooting to be his best job, not only because both people were dead but because he left his first carefully concocted Sam note at the scene of the crime. In his letter he professed note, which was signed Mr. Monster, he professed not to hate woman, and in the note left at the scene states, ” I am deeply hurt by hurt by your calling me a woman hater.
I am not. But I am a monster. I am the Son of Sam a little brat David proceeded to write, in his slanted longhand, that his father, Sam, keeps him locked in an attic and programs him to kill. ” In David’s mind only God cold destroy Sam. Sam was considered the Devil. David was classified by the defense as a period schizophrenic. They believed that David’s difficulties relating to people drove him further into isolation. At this point the police tried to profile him saying, that he was someone looking for help, he was lonely and had no friends.
They saw him in a cheep furnished room, afraid of women and at one point in his life he was rejected by a wife, girlfriend, sister, mother, and that rejection turned into rage. David continued to write letters to the authorities and to the news papers. On June 16th 1977 David seta fire at Ferry point park, ten days later Son of Sam struck again His victims were Judy Placido and Salvatore Lupo they were sitting in a parked car around the corner form a disco. They both survived. Another fire and a week later another murder, so he started lighting fires when he was going to strike. This would turn out to be his last murder.
In the early morning David watched form a distance as a police officer ticketed his car and then walked toward a playground. The fact that the police officer ticketed his car was very significant because it showed that he was getting reckless. In additional he walked into a woman who was out walking her dog at 2am in the morning she got a really good look at him. All of his encounters that night played a key role because later the woman walking the dog would give a description of him along with other that saw him flee the scene. David’s last attack was of a strange venue, he shot then quickly and ran like hell to his car.