Son of Sam
Born to Betty Broder Falco, the illegitimate son of Joseph Kleinman, David Berkowitz, later called the Son of Sam, was put out for adoption by his mother. After his birth on June 1, 1953, a Jewish couple, Nat and Pearl Berkowitz, adopted David. David was raised as their only child; he acted like a loner as a child, one of the signs that later would be associated with a serial killer. He was said to have a violent streak as a child and acted like a bully towards other children. His mother Pearl died in 1967 after a long-term battle with cancer when David was fourteen. David was surprised at her final illness and death did not know the disease something that indicates a rift in the communication between father and son.
After her death, David and his adoptive father moved into an apartment together. It was during this time that David’s behavior and mental state noticeably deteriorated. He demonstrated behavior that would later be diagnosed as schizophrenia When his father remarried a woman who did not get along with David, David was left alone when his dad and his new wife moved to Florida. David drifted and eventually made contact with his birth mother and his sister but drifted away from them too. His stint in the army showed him to be an excellent marksman while his tour on duty in Korea was the only occasion he had sexual intercourse with a prostitute from whom he contracted a venereal disease. After the army experience, David had, it was discovered later, started over 1450 fires in New York of which he kept a detailed diary. Fire starting is also a sign of future trouble, as is cruelty to animals: David did all these things.
Something about the progression of David’s descent into madness came to a head in 1975 and at Christmas time, he found his first female victim, whom he stabbed. This story has not been authenticated by police as the woman apparently survived. His second victim was Michelle F., whom he also stabbed but not fatally. These crimes, committed by David in 1976 and 1977, were supposedly caused by demons that gave David directions to kill. David’s mindset seems to have been one of paranoia as he began to see his neighbors and landlords as people possessed by demons. Even the dogs were demonic to David. David had set his foot on the path of a serial killer early on as the fire starting demonstrates. His cruelty to animals is another key to his burgeoning psychopathic behavior as a serial murderer. By his own admission in letters, David wrote that he was following the directions of a demon, the one in Sam Carr, and an innocent person by all accounts.