“Son of Sam” serial killer David Berkowitz, who terrorized New York during the mid-1970s, has been denied parole for the 15th time, The New York Post is reporting.
During the recent parole hearing, Berkowitz described himself as a model inmate who was seeing out his life’s calling behind bars with “kindness and compassion.”
“I’ve really done something wonderful. I was constantly putting myself out there to help other individuals with kindness and compassion. I feel that’s my life calling, all these years. My evaluations, and so forth, should show that to be true. I’ve done a lot of good and positive things, and I thank God for that.”
Berkowitz was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences in prison, with the potential for parole, in June 1978 after killing six people and wounding seven more during a spate of shootings that occurred in New York City between 1976 and 1977. The serial killer had toyed with authorities during that time, leaving letters that mocked police. He was arrested in his house in Yonkers in 1977 after police found out that his car was ticketed near the last crime scene.
Berkowitz wasted no time confessing to his crimes, but claimed that he had been instructed by a demon that spoke through Harvey, a dog owned by one of his neighbors, Sam. He was found to be mentally incompetent, but enjoyed celebrity status to the extent that the state of New York passed “Son of Sam laws” preventing criminals from profiting from the publicity of their crimes.
Berkowitz, speaking of his 30 years in prison at the maximum security Sullivan Correctional facility in Fallsburg, said, “I feel I am no risk, whatsoever.” He argued his point saying that he graduated from the Sullivan Community College with flying colors, worked with mental health inmates, conducted chapel services and held Bible services. He described his reign of terror as a “terrible tragedy,” adding that “I would do anything if I could ever change that… it was a time that my life was out of control… it’s impossible to go back into the past and fix those kinds of things.”
The killer said if he got out of prison, he had a few friends and church ministers who were willing to provide him with a place to live, but admitted that he saw being released on parole as a very tall order considering the severity of his crimes, adding that people were still hurting and grieving over his horrible crimes.
When queried about his motivation for killing and wounding innocent people, Berkowitz said, “it’s beyond my comprehension.” He explained that he looked back at the terrible times with utter disbelief, wondering where the hate and rage emanated from. During the early days of his incarceration, the Son of Sam had claimed to be part of a satanic cult that encouraged him to carry out the shooting attacks. No one else was ever charged for the attacks.
In a letter to the parole board, typed with a typewriter in his cell, Berkowitz called himself a Christian and explained in detail how he had counseled inmates struggling with mental issues over the years. He ended his letter saying that saw himself as a beacon of hope and inspiration to all housed in the correctional facility. His attorney, Mark Heller, said he had visited the 63-year-old for years at the correctional facility and seen how he had changed. He added that the prison chaplain lauded Berkowitz as the perfect prisoner and wished that every other inmate was as “compliant and helpful” as him.
Berkowitz made the case at his 15th parole hearing, but he was denied. He is due for another appearance in May 2018.