The Sons of Sam on Netflix: Who was John Carr and what happened to him?

Many believe he was the real killer in the case


Ok, we need to talk about The Sons of Sam true crime series on Netflix. At first, it covers what looks like a pretty closed case about serial killer David Berkowitz. But then it dives head first into the huge investigation by journalist Maury Terry, and now a lot of people have been left wondering why John Carr was never properly investigated in the case.

In the summer of 1976, a serial killer was on the loose in New York. Over a year after his first crime, David Berkowitz would be found to be the man who killed six people and wounded seven others. But, investigator and journalist Maury Terry didn’t think he acted alone. Evidence pointed towards a murderous cult – but nobody else was ever convicted in the case.

So, here’s a recap of everything we know about John Carr, how he was linked to the Son of Sam killings, and what happened to him.

John Carr, son of Sam, The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness, Netflix, case, true crime

via Netflix

Who was John Carr and how was he linked to The Sons of Sam case?

Right, so let’s try and take this back to start of when John Carr came into the picture. Jimmy Breslin, who was working at the New York Daily News at the time of the murders, received a letter from the killer. This included a list of names, which the sender said would “help you along”. These were: The Duke of Death, The Wicked King Wicker, The Twenty Two Disciples of Hell and John Wheaties. Part of these clues led journalist Maury Terry to believe the letters were not all sent by David Berkowitz, and instead by the Carr brothers, as part of a cult.

John Wheaties, letter, son of Sam, King Wicker

via Netflix

John Carr’s nickname was Wheaties, so he is thought to be the John Wheaties which the letter referenced, and a John Wheat Carr lived around the corner from David Berkowitz. This is where it gets even more suspicious – John Carr’s father is called Sam, so John Carr literally was the son of Sam. Neighbours claimed Sam Carr would lock his children up if they misbehaved, and another letter from the killer described exactly this, reading: “When father Sam gets drunk he gets mean. He beats his family. Sometimes he ties me up to the back of the house. Other times he locks me in the garage.”

John Carr, son of Sam, The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness, Netflix, Wicker Street, John Wheaties

via Netflix

Plus, John Carr and his brother Michael lived on Wicker Street – and “The Wicked King Winker” was also mentioned in the letter. Even more, there’s no denying that the composite images police had created from witness statements didn’t really resemble David Berkowitz, but one did resemble John Carr.

John Carr, son of Sam, The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness, Netflix, composite image, mugshot

via Netflix

One of Maury Terry’s lines of investigation was a cave-like structure he had found down a road near Berkowitz’s home. Inside were satanic symbols on the walls, blood, and the body of a dog. Witnesses said they knew John Carr was part of a cult, and that he had killed a dog, and the cave which was found was on the road which joined where Berkowitz lived to where John Carr lived.

In a letter from prison, David Berkowitz himself confirmed he had been part of a cult with John Carr. A friend of John Carr’s also said John had been drawing the Son of Sam “symbol”, which was often on the letters the killer sent to police and the media, months before it was published anywhere publicly.

son of Sam, The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness, Netflix, case, true crime

via Netflix

Maury Terry said: “Through interviews with Carr’s friends and police officials in North Dakota, the picture emerged that John Carr was heavily involved in satanic cult activity, both in Minot, North Dakota, and in Westchester County, New York, where he spent part of his time. It involved blood drinking, urine drinking, the ritualistic sacrifice of animals, specifically German Shepherds.”

It seems to all add up, but police are said to have dismissed the information as conspiracy, and nobody else has been charged. It’s said in the Netflix documentary series that Berkowitz himself had warned Maury Terry that nobody would believe his investigation.

John Carr died in 1978

John Carr, son of Sam, The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness, Netflix, case, true crime, death, David Berkowitz

via Netflix

Just six months after Berkowitz was arrested, on February 17th 1978, John Carr was found dead in his girlfriend’s apartment. It was described as a “questionable shooting suicide”. Some people believed he took his own life because of his involvement and he was worried of a police probe, whilst others believed he was murdered because he was going to lift the lid on the involvement of a cult in the Son of Sam murders.

His younger brother Michael also suspiciously died, he was killed in a car accident in New York, in October 1979.

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. 

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• In full: The letters sent from The Sons of Sam killer, as seen in the Netflix series

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