For many New Yorkers, invoking the so-called “Son of Sam” brings back haunting memories. Between the summers of 1976 and ’77, lifelong New Yorker David Berkowitz, better known by his aforementioned, notorious nickname, murdered five innocent women and one innocent man, in addition to injuring seven others. His killings became a source of constant fear and media spectacle for city dwellers and suburbanites alike, as more stories of victims, stretching across the Bronx and Queens, emerged, all while the elusive assailant remained free.
As it turned out, and to the horror of Westchester residents, Berkowitz was living in—and brought into custody outside of—a Pine Street apartment residence in Yonkers (both the name and address of the building were subsequently changed).
But despite being remanded to serve six life sentences at Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, Berkowitz has, shockingly, had opportunities to state his case before a parole board, most recently this past May. Perhaps more surprising, per a transcript obtained by the New York Post, Berkowitz made claims of being a “role model” and “caregiver” who has found his life’s calling in helping others since being sent to prison upstate. Remarkable as it may seem, the Son of Sam insists that over the past 38 years, he has been “constantly putting myself out there to help other individuals, with kindness, and compassion” and longs “to continue to be something of a role model for my fellow inmates, as well as a source of hope and inspiration to whomever I can.”
Nonetheless, Berkowitz himself acknowledges the unlikelihood of his release, telling the board, “So many people I’m sure are still hurting and grieving, that, realistically, something like parole, in my situation, would be very unusual.”
Alas, there’s always next year (or at least the one after), as Berkowitz’s next parole hearing is scheduled for May 2018.