Son of Sam — This writer, unfortunately, has a connection to the Son of Sam: Donna Lauria, the 18-year-old New York woman who was his first victim, Jody Valenti, who was with Lauria (but survived), and Valentina Lauria, the 20-year-old New York woman who was the third victim, were both daughters of “paisani” (fellow townsmen and friends) of her father. As a result, David Berkowitz — who would later go on to be known as the “Son of Sam” killer, so named because of the letters he sent to journalist Jimmy Breslin stating “…I am a monster. I am the Son of Sam. I love to hunt, prowling the streets looking for fair game” — was spoken of in hushed, sad tones.
Now, 40 years after the murders that gripped New York City, Investigation Discovery is revisiting the serial killer that changed the way city cops respond to crime forever with their new special, Son of Sam: The Hunt for a Killer.
Son of Sam
“The mass hysteria that descended upon New York during 1976 and ’77 is now approaching its 40-year anniversary, but feels like just yesterday to New Yorkers who lived through this terrifying time,” said Henry Schleiff, Group President of Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel and Destination America. “Now, in a historical retrospective, Investigation Discovery relives this tragic mark in New York’s storied history from those who encountered and hunted the madman, especially the investigators who worked tirelessly to bring justice to the city, and the intrepid reporters who played an influential role in his capture.”
SON OF SAM: THE HUNT FOR A KILLER explores the bizarre twists and turns in the extraordinary police investigation and subsequent manhunt, explaining how police pieced together a seemingly random slew of shootings to build a psychological profile of the killer. This multi-perspective story unfolds chronologically, featuring access to people intimately involved in the case, including families of the victims as well as survivors Carl Denaro and Robert Violante. Detectives who worked the various homicides offer insight into how they captured the killer, including: Captain (Ret.) of the NYPD and head of the Omega task force, Joe Borelli; Queens detective and original task force member Marlin Hopkins; arresting officer William Gardella; and NYPD Psychologist Harvey Schlossberg, who was tasked with profiling Berkowitz. Reporters who covered the case also discuss how the media were thrust from being observers to participants in the frenzy, such as New York Post’s Steve Dunleavy and New York Daily News’ Brian Kates, who worked alongside Jimmy Breslin.
The special premieres Saturday, August 5, at 9:00 p.m. EST on the Investigation Discovery channel.