Son of Sam killer David Berkowitz looks to Anne Frank for inspiration, views himself as ‘father figure’ to other inmates (2024)

A demonic dog inspired him to kill, but now he’s driven by a diary.

Son of Sam serial killer David Berkowitz compared his decades behind bars to Anne Frank’s “inspirational” writings — days before the self-proclaimed “father figure” is set to face the parole board.

“My favorite book is the Holy Bible. But the most inspirational book for me throughout my years of incarceration is ‘Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl,’” Berkowitz told The Post this week.


“Young Anne wrote her diary while in captivity. She shared her heart within its pages,” the 70-year-old wrote from the maximum-security Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill.

“Little did she know the influence her life and her writings would have in the future,” Berkowitz added about the Jewish teen author, whose diaries detailing life hiding from the Nazis were published around the globe after her death during the Holocaust.

“She impacted the lives of millions,” Berkowitz said. “Little Anne changed the world with a pen. So I ask myself, what can I do with my trusty typewriter? Maybe I can change lives, too, with my message of hope in God?”



The notorious serial killer — whose reign of terror left six dead, seven wounded and a city paralyzed by fear — spoke with The Post as he’s scheduled to appear before the parole board for the 12th time this week for murders in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

His terrifying spree began on July 29, 1976, when the curly-haired Berkowitz, then 23, emerged from the shadows with a .44-caliber Bulldog revolver on a quiet Bronx street and walked up to a car where 19-year-old Jody Valenti sat with her friend Donna Lauria, 18.

He opened fire, killing Lauria and wounding Valenti.


Less than three months later, Berkowitz struck again — wounding Carl Denaro, 20, as he sat with a date in his Volkswagen Beetle in Flushing, the gunman apparently having mistaken the long-haired victim for a woman.

Over nine months, the deranged killer attacked several more times, with the press dubbing him “The .44-Caliber Killer.”

Then, on April 17, 1977, he left behind a note after killing couple Alexander Esau, 20, and Valentina Suriani, 18.

“I am a monster. I am the Son of Sam,” bragged Berkowitz.


“I love to hunt. Prowling the streets looking for fair game tasty meat,” he said of his prey, who were young women with long, dark hair and couples sitting in cars.

Panic spread through the Big Apple, as women cut their hair and wore wigs while discos were left empty and locals braced for the madman to strike again.

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The killer taunted the authorities in the tabloids as the NYPD launched a massive manhunt.

“Hello from the gutters of NYC, which are filled with dog manure, vomit, stale wine, urine and blood … Sam’s a thirsty lad and he won’t let me stop killing until he gets his fill of blood,” he wrote to Daily News columnist Jimmy Breslin.



Police finally cracked the case after Berkowitz was ticketed for parking his car near a fire hydrant on the night of his last murder, leading cops to his Yonkers home.

When Berkowitz emerged from his building on Aug. 10, 1977, cops swooped in.

“I am Sam. David Berkowitz,” he told police.

“What took you so long?”


Berkowitz later told psychiatrists the bloodbath was ordered by neighbor Sam Carr’s black Labrador retriever.

In June 1978, he was sentenced to 547 years in prison.

Behind bars, Berkowitz found God.

“Jesus has allowed me to survive and thrive,” he told The Post.


For years, he’s worked as a chaplain’s clerk and preaches “forgiveness, redemption and hope,” while acting as a “father figure” to wayward inmates.

“Yes, I have a life sentence to do, but I choose to do it well. I always try to help and encourage the younger guys,” he said.

“Over the years I’ve become something of a father figure or an older brother to the younger men.”

In 2002, Berkowitz became eligible for parole, with a board deciding his fate every two years since.


He’s skipped out on some appointments and knows he has no shot at release, but plans on facing the board this time.

“To not attend a hearing can be viewed as being defiant towards authority, and that’s not me,” Berkowitz said.

“Most of all, I attend in order to openly apologize for my past crimes and to express my remorse,” he added.

“And I also attend so that I may share my faith in God, and how He can forgive, heal and restore even the ‘worst’ of offenders.”

Son of Sam killer David Berkowitz looks to Anne Frank for inspiration, views himself as ‘father figure’ to other inmates (2024)


Son of Sam killer David Berkowitz looks to Anne Frank for inspiration, views himself as ‘father figure’ to other inmates? ›

Son of Sam serial killer David Berkowitz compared his decades behind bars to Anne Frank's “inspirational” writings — days before the self-proclaimed “father figure” is set to face the parole board. “My favorite book is the Holy Bible.

What was the son of Sam's motivation? ›

When police asked what his motivation for the killing spree was, he said that his former neighbor, Sam Carr, had a dog that was possessed by a demon, which told Berkowitz to kill. Sam Carr is the same Sam that inspired his nickname, the Son of Sam.

What is the psychological analysis of David Berkowitz? ›

Doctors agree that he was a psychopathic personality with malingering concomitant paranoid and hysterical traits. 05-08-1978 Berkowitz pleads guilty to the six shootings.

What is the reason behind the Son of Sam? ›

During his killing spree, he sent letters to New York newspapers, signing them “Son of Sam,” a reference to a demon he believed lived inside the black Labrador retriever owned by his neighbour Sam Carr. Berkowitz was arrested on August 10, 1977, 11 days after his last murder.

What was Son of Sam's childhood like? ›

David had a troubled youth. He told me that he “hated school and would run home every day” after the final bell sounded. Although he was above average in intelligence, David was hyperactive and surly, so he lost interest in school at an early age and became obsessed with petty theft, bullying his peers, and pyromania.

What mental disorder does the Son of Sam have? ›

Before he was caught, Berkowitz's crimes were escalating in intensity, signaling that his mental state had spiraled out of control. Read on to delve into the Son of Sam's psyche and learn how psychologists came to his paranoid schizophrenia diagnosis.

Is the Son of Sam Law still in effect? ›

Similarly, the state of California's Son of Sam law was struck down in 2002 after being used against Barry Keenan, one of the men who kidnapped Frank Sinatra, Jr. in 1963. After numerous revisions, New York adopted a new "Son of Sam" law in 2001.

Who was the worst serial killer? ›

7 of History's Most Notorious Serial Killers
  • Jack the Ripper. We call him “Jack the Ripper,” but we don't really know who the person behind one of the older and most notorious murder sprees was. ...
  • Jeffrey Dahmer. ...
  • Harold Shipman. ...
  • John Wayne Gacy. ...
  • H.H. Holmes. ...
  • Pedro Lopez. ...
  • Ted Bundy.

Is the Son of Sam still alive? ›

Berkowitz was eventually arrested while leaving his home in Yonkers, and he admitted to being the Son of Sam. On May 8, 1978, he pleaded guilty to the six murders and was given six sentences of 25 years to life. He has since been denied parole and is currently held at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility in New York.


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