Why was David Berkowitz's case reopened? SHOCKING theories claim 'Son of Sam' killer didn't act alone

Why was David Berkowitz's case reopened? SHOCKING theories claim 'Son of Sam' killer didn't act alone
David Berkowitz may not have acted alone in his killings (Getty Images)

Netflix has a knack for creating engaging content for its viewers and it certainly produces a lot of projects based on real-life subjects. From ‘Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer’ to ‘Evil Genius’, the streaming service is home to a variety of spine-chilling documentaries about serial killers.

The latest docuseries to join the catalog is ‘The Sons of Sam’. The series revolves around David Richard Berkowitz, one of the notorious serial killers, who pleaded guilty to eight separate shooting attacks that began in New York City during the summer of 1976. Berkowitz was taken into custody on August 10, 1977, and was charged with murdering eight people.  Berkowitz was later sentenced on June 12, 1978 to 25-years-to-life in prison for each murder, to be served consecutively. However, a lot of people were not convinced that all these killings were committed by a single person and the case was reopened according to various news reports in the early 1980s. So, why was the case reopened even after Berkowitz’s confession? Let’s dig a little deeper and know more about the reopening of the case.


'The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness': Air time, how to live stream, plot and all you need to know about Netflix crime documentary


'Mindhunter': From Charles Manson to Son of Sam, here's a list of all the serial killers featured on the show in season 2


David Berkowitz stands before Criminal Court Judge Richard Brown at the Criminal Court building in Brooklyn, NY on August 11, 1977. (Getty Images)

Reopening of the case

There were a lot of reasons why the ‘Son of Sam’ case was reopened. Numerous confessions made by Berkowitz during the trials made everyone believe that he might have taken some help from others to commit those heinous crimes.

In 1979, the serial killer mailed a book about witchcraft in North Dakota. Many reports claim that he had underlined several passages and written a few notes that shocked everyone. A note in the book read, “Arliss (sic) Perry. Hunted, stalked and slain. Followed to California.” The line served as a potential clue in the case of Arliss Perry, a 19-year-old North Dakota newlywed who had been murdered at Stanford on October 2, 1974.


David Berkowitz, as seen in 'The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness' (Netflix)


After being sentenced, Berkowitz claimed that he joined a “satanic cult” in 1975. The reports claim that he left a note near the bodies of Alexander Esau and Valentina Suriani, which was addressed to Joseph Borrelli, Captain of the New York Police Department. In the note, Berkowitz called himself “Son of Sam” for the first time.

Berkowitz mentioned the Perry attack in other letters, suggesting that he knew details of it from the perpetrator himself. However, police believed that the information was not of any use and the case has since been solved.


Other people involved in the killings

In 1996 Yonkers police reopened Berkowitz’s case to investigate some of his claims. The law enforcement authority believed that he was not alone in committing those gruesome murders. He also made statements that he had been part of a violent cult that helped him carry out the murders and that fellow members John and Michael Carr assisted him.

Screenshot from 'Sons of Sam' trailer (Netflix)

At first, Berkowitz said that he was a part of all the killings. However, he retracted his initial statement and said that he did not pull the trigger in the shooting of Stacey Moscowitz and Robert Violante. Journalist Maury Terry, who covered the ‘Sons of Sam’ murder case for more than 25 years, is one of the prominent names who believe that Berkowitz was not alone.

Citing a statement from one of the witnesses, NBC noted the killer was not Berkowitz. The detailed description did not indicate toward “dark curly-haired” Berkowitz. Witnesses also described different automobiles at the scene, including a description of a getaway driver in a yellow Volkswagen. The report also discussed the interview between Terry and Berkowitz. In the interview, Berkowitz claimed he was the gunman at only two of the eight shootings attributed to the Son of Sam and that he killed three of the six victims. His claims were reportedly deemed true by various sketches that were made after the descriptions provided by the witnesses.


Screenshot from 'The Sons of Sam' screenshot (Netflix)

NBC also reported that the witness sketch from the first shooting in the Bronx had a clear resemblance to Berkowitz. Meanwhile, the sketches from other shootings looked like someone else pulled the trigger.

The confusion regarding the case still haunts a lot of people, but as of now, the case is closed. The new Netflix documentary will talk about the events that took place during the case and its aftermath.

‘Sons of Sam’ will be premiering exclusively on Netflix on Wednesday, May 5.


Share this article:

 david berkowitz case reopened shocking theories sons of sam killer not alone netflix documentary