On August 10th, 1977, the police arrested David Berkowitz, better known as the "Son of Sam," the man who killed six people and wounded seven more, claiming he was acting on orders delivered from a dog. Try your luck with our trivia questions, and see how much you know about the infamous serial killer...
What Other Crime is David Berkowitz Believed to Have Committed over 1,000 Times? While Berkowitz is famous for his murders, he was also a prolific arsonist. Some peg the number of fires he set at 1,411, and the prosecuting lawyer said Berkowitz's lawyer told him it was over 2,000. How was he able to commit arson so many times without getting caught? Well, the police were preoccupied trying to catch the Son of Sam killer at the time. But Berkowitz's pyromania eventually caught up to him. He tried to set fire to the house of his neighbor, Craig Glassman. Glassman suspected Berkowitz for the crime and alerted the police, giving them some threatening letters Glassman had received from Berkowitz. These letters were part of what the police used when they finally arrested Berkowitz for the "Son of Sam" killings.
Who Gave David Berkowitz the Nickname "Son of Sam?"
The rule is you don't give yourself a nickname. And it usually holds true even for serial killers. But Berkowitz was the exception to the rule. The media had taken to calling him the ".44 Caliber Killer," a nickname that stuck until Berkowitz gave himself a better one. He liked to leave taunting letters for the police boasting of the crimes he committed, and, in them, he called himself the "Son of Sam."
The nickname, which soon proved far more popular than the old one, was a reference to Berkowitz's claim that he received orders to kill from a dog. However, contrary to what many believe, Sam was not the name of the dog. The dog's name was Harvey, Sam was his owner.
What Behavior Did the "Son of Sam" Laws Attempt to Prevent? After Berkowitz was arrested, publishers lined up for the rights to Berkowitz's stories. Reports have him being offered as much as six figures for a book deal. Needless to say, the state of New York wasn't eager to see someone clear a hundred grand for a slew of murders he committed, nor to set the precedent that becoming a serial killer might actually be a good business deal. They passed the Son of Sam law, a law which many other states have since adopted their own version of, preventing a criminal from profiting off a crime he or she committed. In many states, any money a criminal might be paid in something like a book deal is now put into an account and distributed to the crime's victims.
What Event Has David Berkowitz Skipped Every Time It's Come Up Since the First One in 2002? While Berkowitz was sentenced to life in prison, after 25 years, he became eligible for parole hearings. The hearings happen every two years, and Berkowitz has attended exactly zero of them. While in prison, Berkowitz has found religion, becoming a Jew for Jesus. "David told me that the reason he has never sought freedom from the parole board by attending parole hearings is because 'Jesus has already freed my heart, soul and mind and has forgiven me,'" explained Berkowitz's lawyer, Mark J. Heller. Having said that, it's pretty likely that even if he did get his hearing, Berkowitz wouldn't be released. The parole commissioners from his most recent hearing said that letting Berkowitz go, "would so deprecate the serious nature of the crime as to undermine respect for law." So whether it's his choice or someone else's, Berkowitz will almost certainly spend the rest of his life in prison for all that he's done.