David Berkowitz terrorized New York City by killing six people and wounding seven others in seemingly random shootings from 1976 to 1977. Now, four decades after he was arrested, Berkowitz speaks out about what led him to kill, his life before he turned into a murderer, and life in prison today in “Son of Sam │The Killer Speaks” a CBS News special to be broadcast Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
“I see that people will never understand where I come from, no matter how much I try to explain it,” Berkowitz tells CBS News’ Maurice DuBois, 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.”
Using firsthand accounts from shooting victims, police and reporters, “Son of Sam │The Killer Speaks” relives the fear that paralyzed many New Yorkers as word spread that someone was committing random shootings — all done with a high-power .44 caliber weapon. The killer hit strangers, often couples in parked cars, and the women usually had long, dark brown hair. The shooter was dubbed the “.44 Caliber Killer” by New York newspapers. For a while, as the victim count rose, the only substantial clues police had were two letters: one sent to Detective Joe Borelli, the head of the task force looking for the killer and the other to newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin, then at the New York Daily News.
“I should have been dead,” says Robert Violante, who was shot on July 31, 1977 while sitting in a parked car with Stacy Moskowitz, who later died from her injuries.
“Effectively, it was him winning over us each time he got away with it,” says former NYPD Detective Bill Clark.
Before he was captured, Berkowitz lived alone in Yonkers, where he admitted to feeling “isolated.” “I didn’t see it at the time,” Berkowitz says. “I was just very lost and confused. There was a battle going on inside me.”
The shootings, he tells DuBois, were “a break from reality, thought I was doing something to appease the devil. I’m sorry for it.”
Berkowitz also wants to…