Forty years after the "Son of Sam" serial killer was arrested, David Berkowitz —in his first major TV interview in a decade -- speaks with CBS News in "Son of Sam │The Killer Speaks"
Calling himself the "Son of Sam" in a letter left at one of the crime scenes, Berkowitz claimed voices were ordering him to kill -- starting in the summer of 1976, he went on a 13-month spree of impulse killings in New York City that left six dead and seven injured.
David Berkowitz, seen here in a photo from the 1968 James M. Kieran J.H.S. yearbook, was born on June 1, 1953. He was given up for adoption at birth and raised in Bronx, N.Y., by Pearl and Nathan Berkowitz.
David Berkowitz in a self-portrait from a coin-operated photo booth during his stint in the Army. He joined the Army in 1971, at age 18, and served in South Korea. He was honorably discharged in 1974.
In March 1976, he began working as part-time mail sorter at a U.S. Postal Service hub in the Bronx.
The Shootings Begin
David Berkowitz terrorized New York City by killing six people and wounding seven others in seemingly random shootings from July 1976 to July 1977:
July 29, 1976: Jody Valenti and Donna Lauria, 18, pictured, were shot as they sat in a parked car in Bronx, N.Y. Lauria died instantly from a gunshot wound to her neck. Valenti survived.
Oct. 23, 1976: Carl Denaro, 20, and Rosemary Keenan, 18, were shot while sitting in Denaro's parked car. Both survived, but Denaro was struck in the head by one of the bullets.
Nov. 27, 1976: Donna DeMasi and Joanne Lomino, 18, were walking near Lomino's home in Queens, N.Y., after a late movie. Berkowitz followed them briefly, then shot them. DeMasi survived without suffering permanent physical harm, but Lomino was paralyzed.
Jan. 30, 1977: Christine Freund, 26, and her fiance, John Diel, were shot as they sat in a parked car in Flushing, N.Y. Freund died; Diel survived the attack.
"Son of Sam" Survivor
"Son of Sam" victim Donna DeMasi, who was shot in the neck in 1976, talks with a reporter as she arrives at court in Brooklyn, N.Y., on May 23, 1978.
Shooting Spree Continues
The shooter, who had not yet been identified as David Berkowitz, shot strangers, often couples in parked cars, and the women usually had shoulder-length, dark brown hair. He was dubbed the ".44 Caliber Killer" by New York newspapers.
March 8, 1977: Police at shown at the scene where college student Virginia Voskeritchian, 19, was shot and killed outside her home in Flushing N.Y. The shooting is a block away from where Christine Freund was murdered on January 30.
March 8, 1977: Virginia Voskerichian, 19, was shot in the face as she returned home from classes at Barnard College, where she was an honor student. She died instantly.
April 17, 1977: Valentina Suriani, 18, and her boyfriend, Alexander Esau, 20, were shot twice in Bronx, N.Y. Both died as a result of gunshot wounds.
Berkowitz left a letter at the scene, signed "Son of Sam."
"Son of Sam"'s Letter
May 30, 1977: The shooter sent a handwritten letter to New York Daily News columnist Jimmy Breslin. It was signed "Son of Sam."
KiIler Taunts Cops
June 6, 1977: The New York Daily News published "Son of Sam's" letter to Breslin.
Another Couple Shot
June 26, 1977: Police investigate a Cadillac where Judy Placido and Sal Lupo were shot in Bayside, Queens, N.Y.
"Son of Sam" Survivor
June 26, 1977: Judy Placido [not pictured], 17, and Sal Lupo, 20, were shot while leaving a disco in Queens, N.Y, whwere Lupo is pictured, right, with friends. Placido was shot three times; both survived. Four bullets from a .44 caliber revolver had been fired.
"Son of Sam's" Last Victims
July 31, 1977: The brown 1968 Buick Skylark belonging to Robert Violante, 20, parked in Bath Beach, Brooklyn, N,Y., where Violante and Stacy Moskowitz, 19, were shot by David Berkowitz. Moskowitz died; Violante was partially blinded.
"Son of Sam" Victim
July 31, 1977: Robert Violante, 20, and Stacy Moskowitz, 19, were shot in Violante's car while parked at a lover's lane in Brooklyn; it was their first date.
"The doctors said I was not going to make it, and that Stacy would," Violante told CBS News.
A .44 caliber slug destroyed Violante's left eye and damaged his right eye as it tore across his skull. Moskowitz died from a gunshot wound to her head.
"Son of Sam" Sketch
Aug. 3, 1977: Following the shootings of Robert Violante and Stacy Moskowitz, police released a sketch of the shooting suspect, based on descriptions by witnesses.
All of the shootings occurred in New York City borroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.
"Son of Sam" Caught
Aug. 10, 1977: David Berkowitz, 24, of Yonkers, N.Y. was arrested in front of his apartment building as he sat at the wheel of his car.
Detectives John Falotico and Edward Zigo, two of the arresting officers, are pictured with the suspect enroute to Brooklyn Criminal Court.
Smiling Berkowitz in Custody
Aug. 10, 1977: Police officers escort accused serial killer David Berkowitz, left, known as the "Son of Sam," into the 84th Precinct Station, in New York.
"Son of Sam" Caught
The Aug. 11, 1977 front page of the NY Daily News reporting the arrest of the ."44 Caliber Killer."
"Son of Sam" Caught
Aug. 11, 1977: At the Manhattan Police Headquarters, some of the hundreds of policemen involved in the "Son of Sam" manhunt read about his capture.
The .44 Caliber Revolver
Aug. 11, 1977: New York mayor Abraham Beame, left, looks on as police detective Edward Zigo holds up a .44 caliber revolver, the alleged murder weapon of the "Son of Sam" serial killer, David Berkowitz, at New York Police headquarters.
Writing on the Wall
August 12, 1977: These handwritten messages were found on the wall in the apartment of .44-caliber ""Son of Sam"" shooting suspect David Berkowitz in Yonkers, New York. Following his arrest, Berkowitz underwent a court-ordered psychological evaluation, where he was found competent to stand trial.
May 8, 1978: Berkowitz pleaded guilty to the shootings.
David Berkowitz Speaks Out
Convicted serial killer David Berkowitz is serving six consecutive life sentences. He has been incarcerated at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill, N.Y., since April 2016.
"I see that people will never understand where I come from, no matter how much I try to explain it," David Berkowitz told CBS News in his first major TV interview in a decade and his only interview about the 40th anniversary of his arrest. "They wouldn't understand what it was like to walk in darkness."