Where is David Berkowitz now? The killer from The Sons of Sam on Netflix
He’s eligible for parole but says he doesn’t deserve it
In the summer of 1976, a serial killer was on the loose in New York. Now, David Berkowitz is serving life in prison for the crimes and says he doesn’t like thinking back to what he did.
David Richard Berkowitz is one of the most notorious serial killers in American history and the hunt for him captivated the world in the late 1970s. He became known as the Son of Sam through letters he had left at crime scenes, and police and the media also called him the .44 Caliber Killer – because of the gun he used. Berkowitz had grown up in New York City and previously served in the army, before his spree which ended in him killing six people and wounding seven others.
Here’s everything we know about where David Berkowitz is now, and what happened to him after he was captured.
In 1977, David Berkowitz was found to be the Sons of Sam killer
On August 10th 1977, 24-year-old postal worker David Berkowitz was arrested as being the “Son of Sam” serial killer who killed six people. According to reports at the time, Berkowitz said with a smile on his face: “Well, you got me”. Berkowitz pleaded guilty to eight separate shooting attacks that began in New York City during the summer of 1976. He initially said he had been obeying the orders of a demon manifested in the form of a dog belonging to his neighbour, Sam. He later said this story was all a lie.
During the mid-1990s, he amended his confession and said he was instead part of a Satanic cult. A new investigation was started, but nobody else has ever been charged in relation to the murders.
David Berkowitz is now in a prison in New York, has written a book, and says he ‘doesn’t deserve’ parole
David Berkowitz is now aged 67, and locked up for life at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility in New York. He was sentenced to a minimum term of 25 years, and maximum of life. At the time of sentencing, a state Supreme Court justice in the case said he would have sent Berkowitz to the electric chair if it had been an option.
Because he pleaded guilty, Berkowitz was eligible for parole after the minimum 25 years, but he remains in prison. According to his prisoner records, he may have another parole hearing in 2022 and his earliest possible release date is May that year. Berkowitz is eligible for a parole meeting every two years, but has never been granted release, nor requested it, saying he “doesn’t deserve it”.
He is also known to have skipped out on parole hearings all together and in one letter to a Governor said: “In all honesty, I believe that I deserve to be in prison for the rest of my life. I have, with God’s help, long ago come to terms with my situation and I have accepted my punishment.”
During his sentence, Berkowitz has said he worked in the mental health unit of his prison as a peer councillor for fellow inmates. “I enjoy doing that very much”, he said in an interview.
As well as this, reports say the killer has started practicing the Christian faith, and works as a clerk at his prison chaplain, which includes having to file paperwork and clean. In 2006 Berkowitz wrote a book, called Son of Hope: The Prison Journals of David Berkowitz, which follows his introduction to Christianity in prison.
In 2017, David Berkowitz offered his “condolences” to the family of Jimmy Breslin – a journalist he taunted with creepy letters during his killing spree. Writing to Rochester Democrat and Chronicle columnist David Andreatta, the killer said he “can’t remember” why he chose to write the letters in the first place and added: “I wish to extend my condolences to his family at their loss.” Breslin died in March 2017.
Over the years, the killer has done a number of interviews in prison. In 2017, Berkowitz did one with CBS News, titled “Son of Sam: The Killer Speaks”. David Berkowitz talked about his early life, and now his life in prison. He discussed how mobile phones and the Internet are “space-age stuff to me”, having been in jail when they were invented, and said some prisoners don’t know who he is and he feels he’s “just another face in the crowd.” He adds that, given the chance, he would go back and tell his younger self not to commit crimes, saying he’d tell himself: “Ugh, turn around before it’s too late because destruction is coming.”
A year later, he is said to have had emergency heart surgery to address clotting and improve circulation to his legs.
Berkowitz has also reportedly said he doesn’t wish to see or hear about any true crime documentaries or podcasts about him, saying “he can hardly bear to talk about the crimes except as a dark time in his life.”
The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.