“Son of Sam,” David Berkowitz, left six people dead in the mid to late-1970s across New York City. The 40th anniversary for one “Son of Sam” survivor is coming up quickly on July 29, and now, she’s left looking back on the encounter with the infamous serial killer. Jody Valenti, 59, who was only 19 at the time of the attack, says that fear took over her life for several years after she was shot by “Son of Sam” on July 29, 1976.
In a new interview published by the New York Post on Sunday, Valenti recalls the night in 1976 when David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz approached a car she was sitting in with a friend after they both left a disco in New Rochelle, New York. Just after 1 a.m. on July 29, Jody Valenti sat with her friend, 18-year-old Donna Lauria, outside Lauria’s apartment building in the Bronx when “Son of Sam” opened fire on Valenti’s blue Oldsmobile Cutlass.
“It took probably about six years of my life to be able to get in a car at night” https://t.co/ZTLlC3hBcE— New York Post (@nypost) July 17, 2016
The windows were closed, but “Son of Sam” shot through the right front window four times, killing Donna Lauria instantly as she opened the car door. According to Valenti, the “hulking man wearing a striped shirt” only came within eight feet of the car before he started shooting at the teenagers. Donna took one fatal bullet in the back, while Jody was shot in the left thigh, leaving her in what she describes as “agonizing pain” and shock.
Jody Valenti was able to describe the shooter as a 30-year-old white male with curly hair and a fair complexion. She told police the killer was someone she had never seen before in her life. It is unknown if Donna somehow knew Berkowitz, but according to police, “Son of Sam” didn’t know any of his victims. “Son of Sam” was described as a misogynist by police. The 25-year-old serial killer apparently disliked women and purposely went after women with long, dark, and wavy hair.
“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.’ When father Sam gets drunk he gets mean. He beats his family. Sometimes he ties me up to the back of the house. Other times he locks me in the garage.”
Authorities also noted that “Son of Sam” usually chose two victims at a time, and the shootings appeared to be random. The one clue that tied all of the shootings to one killer was the.44-caliber bullets found at all of the crime scenes, leading the press to give “Son of Sam” the nickname “.44-caliber killer.” David Berkowitz, however, said he took the name “Son of Sam” because of his neighbor’s dog, Harvey. According to Berkowitz, his neighbor, Sam Carr, had a black Labrador retriever that conveyed demonic messages to him, and the dog ordered him to kill, as reported by Radar Online.
“During questioning, Berkowitz claimed that his neighbor’s dog was one of the reasons that he killed, stating that the dog demanded the blood of pretty young girls.”
Son of Sam survivor breaks silence 40 years after killer set out on murderous rampage in NYhttps://t.co/4ySuSQRvL9— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) July 18, 2016
Berkowitz did eventually confess to all of the shootings that took place over the course of a year, including the attack on Donna Lauria and Jody Valenti. One bizarre letter sent from “Son of Sam” on July 28, 1977, before his capture on August 10, 1977, asked how the press was going to commemorate the shooting of Lauria and Valenti.
“You must not forget Donna Lauria and you cannot let the people forget her either. She was a very, very sweet girl, but Sam’s a thirsty lad, and he won’t let me stop killing until he gets his fill of blood.”
Lauria and Valenti’s shooting was the first of eight for “Son of Sam” that left six people dead and seven injured from July 29, 1976, to July 31, 1977. Valenti recalls that time, saying it was a “terrible time,” and the whole city was terrorized, from “the Hamptons to Queens, all the boroughs.” Valenti also said in the interview that it took her six years to be able to get into a car at night again, but she recently took a gun class to learn how to shoot a gun.
“I did it myself. I did it to face my fear of a gun, my fear of holding a gun … my fear of the sound of a gun — fear, fear, fear.”
Valenti also voiced her sympathy for those who lost their lives at the hands of “Son of Sam,” including her friend, Lauria, who would be her age by now. “Son of Sam” was sentenced to prison for life and has been denied parole several times. However, Valenti says that it’s very disturbing to her that the media is still talking about “Son of Sam” 40 years later, ending the interview with “What are we celebrating?”
“The lunatic that’s in prison for life who’s getting benefits. He’s getting three square meals. He’s getting an education. He’s getting everything he needs.”
The Inquisitr reported on June 24 that “Son of Sam” received “six consecutive life sentences in prison with the potential for parole,” but was denied parole for the 15th time in May, even though David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz claimed that he has done “a lot of good things,” including counseling other prisoners. He claimed the shootings were “beyond his comprehension.”
[Photo by Anonymous/AP Images]