Monday, August 10, 2009

August 10, 1977: Son of Sam Killer Arrested

On this day, August 10, in 1977, a sweltering summer full of terrifying murders was just coming to an end. It was the “Summer of Sam” and much of the city life had come to a standstill as the presence of an unknown murderer known solely by the moniker “Son of Sam” had people fearful of leaving their apartments. After more than a year of going undetected as he quietly murdered six and injured seven, David Berkowitz, a 24-year-old postal worker residing in Yonkers, was arrested outside his home. New Yorkers breathed a collective sigh of relief.

It took a while for the police to realize they were dealing not with random killings but with a ruthless serial killer. Detective forces in the boroughs were working with the incidents separately until it was realized that the same gun was being used for a large number of murders. Once the connection was made that there was a serial killer on the loose, New Yorkers remained on edge until the alleged “Son of Sam” was caught and taken off of the streets.

The final murder that Berkowitz committed was on July 31, 1977. 21 year old Stacy Moskowitz was killed, and her date, 20 year old Robert Violante, blinded. This time, however, unlike with the other murders, multiple people bore witness to his horrendous actions. Strangely enough, in a case characterized by extremes, it was a parking ticket that led to the solving of the crimes. A witness had seen a man who matched the description of the killer walking around earlier in the evening and pulling a ticket off his car for being illegally parked. The police were able to trace the ticket to a vehicle owned by Berkowitz. On the morning of August 10, police arrived at his apartment in Yonkers and apprehended him when he stepped outside. He confessed to everything and was arrested. It is alleged that upon his arrest, the first thing he said to the police officers was: “You got me. What took you so long?”

-Sam Jinishian, EVHP Staff

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