It’s been 40 years since David Berkowitz, the prolific New York City serial killer known as the “Son of Sam,” was arrested and put behind bars for life.
But the man who claimed to be carrying out Satan’s work when he killed six people and wounded seven others between July 1976 and July 1977 says he’s found God while doing time at the Sullivan Correctional Facility in upstate New York.
“If I had not become a Christian, I may have died a long time ago,” Berkowitz told Inside Edition in a 1993 jailhouse interview.
Berkowitz’s manhunt became the largest in the city’s history until his arrest on August 10, 1977, in Yonkers, N.Y.
He confessed to the killings of Donna Lauria, 18, Christine Freund, 26, Virginia Voskerichian, 19, Alexander Esau, 20, Valentina Suriani, 18, and Stacy Moskowitz, 20. He claimed he’d been given orders to kill from his neighbor’s dog.
On May 8, 1978, Berkowitz pleaded guilty to the six murders and was given six 25-years-to-life sentences.
Following his sentencing, he was sent to Attica State Prison in upstate New York. In 1979, Berkowitz was slashed in the throat.
“Another inmate tried to take my life by cutting my throat with a prison-made razor blade,” he told Inside Edition in 1993. “I’m lucky to be alive. The doctor there who stitched me up said, ‘It is a miracle you are alive.'”
It took 56 stitches to close the wound. His neck still bears the scar.
“As with many inmates, life in prison is a struggle,” he wrote on his website, AriseandShine.org. “I have had my share of problems, hassles and fights. At one time I almost lost my life when another inmate cut my throat. Yet all through this — and I did not realize it until later — God had His loving hands on me.”
A decade after claiming he’d killed in the name of Satan, Berkowitz converted to Christianity.
In 1987, he was transferred 250 miles away to Sullivan, where he remains today, and soon met another inmate who introduced him to the religion. In the 1993 interview with Inside Edition, Berkowitz recalled picking up a Bible for the first time.
“The words began to seem very real as if God were talking to me,” he said.
“It was at that moment, in 1987, that I began to pour out my heart to God,” he wrote on his website. “Everything seemed to hit me at once….