The Story Of A Man And His Dog
Paybarah, Liz Goff, Richard Weizel
and Mark McQuillan
n the summer of 1977, a man “between 25 and 30 years of age, 5’10 to
6’ tall, weighing 175 pounds…[who] combs his dark hair straight
back, is clean shaven, and wears a beige, knee-length raincoat” sent
fear throughout the City.
It was 26 years ago that a man who said a
6,000-year-old dog gave him orders to kill reached celebrity status.
On Jan. 29, 1977 four women in two separate attacks in Forest
Hills were killed. The
weapon used was a .44 caliber bulldog revolver.
Police profiled the then-unknown killer as “a
woman-hater without any given pattern.”
By July, with his “Son of Sam” pseudonym splashed across the
City, the police said, “the man we are looking for . . . may well be a
Jekyll and Hyde figure. . . . He himself may not know what he is
That murder spree sent fear to the hearts of
City residents, already living in a crime plagued era.
One Austin Street resident told police at the time “I moved
here from Flatbush, which is considered a bad neighborhood.
I felt safer there than I do in Forest Hills.”
On July 31, 1977 Stacy Moskowitz and her date,
Bobby Violante, were just about to get out of Violante’s Buick to take
a romantic stroll. Moskowitz
turned to Violante around 2:30 a.m. and asked. “What if Son of Sam is
hiding there?” Assuringly
Violante said, “Are you kidding?
This is Brooklyn, not Queens.”
Seconds later, Moskowitz was dead and Violante was blinded.
That night, the City’s notorious murderer was
A woman walking her dog noticed a man running
to a car parked by a fire hydrant.
The car, recently ticketed by police, led them to an address in
Yonkers. The man at
the address was David Berkowitz.
The arrest of Berkowitz and publication of his
letters only served to heightened the public’s interest.
In an April ‘77 letter to Captain Joseph Borrelli of Queens
Homicide, Berkowitz explained how he chose his targets.
“The women of Queens are prettyist of all.
[It] must be the water they drink . . . .To the people of Queens,
I love you.”
As for the original police profile, that
insulted Berkowitz, who pleaded guilty by reason of insanity.
“I am deeply hurt by your calling me a women hater.
I am not. But I am a monster.
I am the Son of Sam. I
am a little brat,” the Tribune reported him saying.
The letters reveled the psychotic world of a
man who profiled women with long blond hair.
In response, women cut and dyed their hair for fear of catching
Berkowitz wrote, “Papa Sam keeps me locked in
the attic, too. I can’t get out but I look out the attic window and
watch the world go by. . . .
“To stop me you must kill me. Attention all police: shoot me first – shoot to kill or
else keep out of my way or you will die!” The Son of Sam terrorized
Queens – and City – residents in 1977.