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The Son of Sam Killer

The Son of Sam was a killer, starting in July of 1976, who stalked women in New York. He picked his victims randomly, but there was always a woman: either two women together or a man and a woman. He used a 44-caliber gun of an unusual make. This serial killer learned how to terrorize a city. Like most serial killers, he set fires when he was younger. Look at the story of the Son of Sam, and address the following questions:

How is this serial killer different from a normal homicide suspect?
What were his criteria when choosing his victims?
Did forensic psychology have any input into this case?
How was he captured?

Hindsight is better than foresightâ?"what else could have been looked at to help capture this killer?

Solution Preview

After The Son of Sam (aka David Berkowitz) had shot a young man named Alexander Esau, 20 and a young woman named Valentina Suriani on the night of April 17, 1977 as they sat in a parked car in a deserted area off the Hutchinson River Parkway In the Bronx, New York, he had left a note next to their bodies that read " I am a monster, I am the Son of Sam." In the letter addressed to police officer Joseph Borrelli who was heading the investigation he also stated that a neighbor who he called "Father Sam" had ordered him to go out and kill people. Also he wrote that his neighbor Sam Carr lived there 6,000 years ago.There were several shootings done by The Son of Sam the previous year.
On July 29, 1976 at approximately 1:10AM 18 year old Donna Lauria and her friend Judy Valenti, 19 were the first victims shot by Berkowitz as they sat in Donna's car outside her home in New Rochelle. Donna did not survive the attack. Judy was wounded.
On October 23, 1976 20 year old Carl Denaro was wounded by the Son of Sam as he sat in a car with Rosemary Keenan , 21 in Flushing, Queens. Because Carl had long dark hair the shooter seemed to mistake him for a woman.
One month later on Novemebr 27 two teenage girls Donna DiMasi, 17 and Joanne Lomino, 18 were wounded by Berkowitz as they sat outside Joanne's home in Queens.
On January 29, 1977 Christine Freund, 26 was shot dead as she sat near a Queens railroad station with John Diel, 30.
On March 8, 1977 19 year old Virginia Voskericihian a Columbia University student was shot dead just blocks away from where Christine Freund was killed.

After several shootings the police were able to connect them because the shooter had always used a 44 caliber ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides a discussion of the Son of Sam case of serial killer David Berkowitz. It includes some general information about the case and a discussion of the role of forensic psychology had in the case as well as what else may have been done to help capture him.