56 year old David Berkowitz has spent the past 33 years in prison and is currently housed at the Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, New York. For years he has become disenchanted with speaking with reporters. In a letter in September 2009 he writes,"interviews for the most part were disappointing and never turned out as I had hoped."
However, Berkowitz has chosen to write to me for the past six months.
The man known as the Son of Sam says he has become a Born again Christian and proclaims, “I had a personal encounter with God almighty right inside the prison house.”
But there was nothing spiritual about his 13 month shooting spree in 1976 when he killed 6 people - leaving 7 wounded.
When arrested Berkowitz plead guilty and was sentenced to 6 consecutive life terms but after serving only 25 years state law allows him a chance for parole every two years.
In a letter dated February 24th, 2010 Berkowitz tells me about the support he's received from the public. He writes:
“Everyone from college students to those in the military have gotten insight, inspiration, etc. It’s good to touch lives and give people some hope.”
New Yorkers who were there during the Son of Sam murders say they’ll never forget the terror they felt during that time. That chilling effect has left them with strong opinions on whether Berkowitz should ever be released from prison.
"Leave him there in that cage that’s where he belongs," Nina Soffer recalls how Berkowitz targeted women with dark hair. “Women were buying blonde wigs, they were dying their hair blonde I was a platinum blonde for a week."
Berkowitz says he has hurt enough people and has decided what he’ll do during his parole hearing in May. He chose to send this letter exclusively to me, two months before releasing it to his Parole Officer. It states:
“Please be advised that I am not seeking parole consideration at this time.” signed David Berkowitz.
People like Jeffrey Degan says they are not so convinced, “I think he’s a very clever manipulating human being." Degan and Soffer both lived in New York City at the time of the murders and have since moved to Miami. When asked if Berkowitz should ever be released from prison, Soffer adamently replied. “I think it’s pretty difficult to cure somebody of psychosis, which is what he’s got."
The Son of Sam blames his rage on his involvement with a Satanic cult, "I really thought I was some kind of soldier in a Satanic army and we had determined to bring NYC to its knees.”
Berkowitz feels his previous drug and alcohol use, childhood problems, tendencies to vandalize buildings and set fires all lead up to his killing spree. He says, “ If I could go back I would take that gun and throw it right in the sewer.’
In the past couple of years Berkowitz has begun writing lenghty prison journals. He opines on everything from biblical scriptures to current events. His latest entry warns kids about singer Susan Boyle.
“Little children, keep yo:urselves from idols. , Susan Boyle has become an overnight sensation and an idol. But idols come, and they go. We’ve become a nation of people worshippers.”Berkowitz also refers to the bible's Book of Revelations which states Satan is set to take over the world, he writes:
“Everyone is going to be electronically tracked and monitored. And so tyrannical will this international body be that those who refuse to go along with it will be put to death.”Soffer contends,“he has transferred his fantasies into religious ones but those fantasies and that disconnect from reality still exists.
Prison officials say Berkowitz has been a model inmate for the past two decades. His last disciplinary action was back in 1989 for having an unauthorized bible in his cell.
The family members and survivors of the Son of Sam's killing spree say they'll never be able forgive him.
Link to Mike Mason's Television Report on WPIX-TV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNPKnRiq-BE&feature=related