Serial killer Son of Sam claimed he was ‘possessed by demon dog next door’

Netflix has released yet another true crime docu-series, this time about infamous serial killer David Berkowitz, also known as Son of Sam.

Berkowitz shot and killed six people, and wounded seven others, mainly targeting young couples who were sat in their cars.

When he was finally arrested by New York City homicide detectives in August 1977, he confessed to his crimes.

The Netflix series Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness, follows an investigative journalist who became convinced Berkowitz was connected to a deeper conspiracy – and didn't act alone.

Maury Terry challenged the accepted version of the horrific events, which was that Berkowitz acted alone.

Here we take a closer look at who Berkowitz was – and the bizarre reason why he nicknamed himself Son of Sam.

Who was David Berkowitz?

David Berkowitz was born Richard David Falco on June 1, 1953 in Brooklyn, New York.

Between July 29, 1976 and July 31, 1977, Berkowitz randomly killed six people in and around New York by shooting them with a .44 revolver.

He started his murderous rampage with two teenage girls called Jody Valenti and Donna Lauria.

They had been sitting in a car in front of Lauria's home when Berkowitz shot at them, killing Lauria and injuring Valenti.

Why did he call himself Son of Sam?

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It wasn't until April 1977 that Berkowitz acquired the nickname "Son of Sam".

However, it wasn’t until April 1977 that he acquired the nickname "Son of Sam".

After killing Alexander Esau and Valentina Suriani in their cars, he left the police a note.

It read: "I am deeply hurt by your calling me a woman hater. I am not. But I am a monster. I am the 'Son of Sam.'

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“Sam loves to drink blood. ‘Go out and kill’ commands father Sam.”

After being arrested, Berkowitz claimed that his neighbour Sam Carr's dog was actually a demon manifesting as a canine.

He said it was Sam's dog Harvey who had ordered him to carry out murders.

Detective D. Kim Rossmo said: “Berkowitz claimed that Harvey, his neighbour’s black Labrador Retriever, was possessed by an ancient demon called Sam and that it issued irresistible commands that Berkowitz must kill people”.

However, at a press conference in February 1979 Berkowitz claimed he had never thought his neighbour's dog was possessed, admitting it was a hoax.

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Despite giving himself his own nickname, Berkowitz later revealed he regretted it.

He told CBS in 2017: "I hate that name. I despise that name."

After a long series of meetings with his court-appointed psychiatrist David Abrahamsen, he eventually said that he had long contemplated murder to get revenge on a world that he felt had rejected and hurt him.

Berkowitz was sentenced to life in prison, and now, aged 66, he remains in New York’s Shawangunk Facility.

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