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How Netflix Sons of Sam killer plagued New York – unseen attacks to creepy notes

A chilling new Netflix true crime documentary which focuses on the murders of infamous serial killer, David Berkowitz, is out this week.

David Berkowitz, also known as 'Son of Sam', murdered six people and wounded ten others on a savage killing spree between July 1976 and 1977 in New York City.

The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness will delve into the serial killer's violent crimes over the course of four episodes.

The documentary follows journalist Maury Terry, who investigated whether the killer was in fact part of a satanic cult.

The reporter and author, Terry, claims there is a "web of darkness" behind his crimes.

So with the criminal re-entering in the public eye, The Daily Star have decided to investigate how Son of Sam was able to terrorise the city of New York, and go down in history as one of the world's most infamous killers.

Unseen assailant

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Firstly, Son of Sam was able to keep carrying out his killings, and avoid one of the largest manhunts in US history, because he was able to stay anonymous during his crimes.

And the reason he was able to stay under the radar from authorities during his killings was that his victims were unable to identify their attacker.

For example, when he shot security guard Carl Denaro, 20, and eighteen-year-old student Rosemary Keenan, the panicked couple didn't see their attacker, Berkowitz.

Likewise, when he fatally shot Alexander Esau, a truck operator, 20, and Valentina Suriana, an aspiring actress, 18, he again went undetected because Esau was unable to describe his attacker.

But Berkowitz also managed to avoid leaving evidence at the scenes of his crimes.

For example, after his first gun murder, when he shot and killed eighteen-year-old Donna Lauria in a car parked in the New York Bronx, police were unable to find any leads or motives in the crime.

He was using a 44. calibre revolver and also wounded his friend Jody Valenti, a nineteen-year-old nurse.

And when police saw the bullets in Keenan's car were 44. caliber, the bullets were so deformed that they thought it unlikely they could be linked to a particular weapon.

Creepy notes

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The serial killer also tormented New York by leaving evil notes after his crimes which mocked and threatened authorities, such as his first Son of Sam letter.

After the brutal killing of Alexander Esau and Valentina Suriana, police discovered a handwritten letter near their bodies, written mostly in block capitals.

The strange letter was addressed to NYPD Captain, Joseph Borrelli, and revealed the infamous name Son of Sam for the first time.

The letter detailed the killer's determination to carry on his murderous work, and scorned at police for their failed efforts to capture him.

Part of the eerie letter which is full of misspellings, reads: "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. Sam loves to drink blood. "Go out and kill" commands father Sam."

The letter then taunts police more by saying: "To stop me you must kill me. Attention all police: Shoot me first—shoot to kill or else".

Love of the hunt

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Son of Sam also gained his wicked serial killer aura in the 1970s through his love for the crimes he committed.

Disturbingly, in the latter part of his NYPD crime scene note, Berkowitz professes his love for hunting down his victims.

The second half of the letter begins by saying that "Papa Sam… needs some blood to preserve his youth."

The murder letter continues: "I love to hunt. Prowling the streets looking for fair game—tasty meat.

"The wemon of Queens are z prettyist of all. I must be the water they drink. I live for the hunt—my life. Blood for papa." [sic]

Targeted attacks

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When you look at the physical features of David Berkowitz' victims, you might notice a disturbing pattern.

Although some victims like Alexander Esau were male, it appears that the gun-wielding assailant would mostly target young white women with long, dark and wavy hair.

His first letter stated that "The wemon of Queens are z prettyist of all".

And indeed, he seemed to exhibit a pattern of attacking women sat with their boyfriends in parked cars – spots that are sometimes known as "lovers' lanes'" in America.

Letter to the press

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As well as his letter to the police, a handwritten letter was sent to Daily News reporter Jimmy Breslin by someone claiming to be Son of Sam.

The letter, enclosed, read: "I'm just dropping you a line to let you know that I appreciate your interest in those recent and horrendous .44 killings. I also want to tell you that I read your column daily and I find it quite informative.

"Tell me Jim, what will you have for July twenty-ninth? You can forget about me if you like because I don't care for publicity. However 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.

The creepy letter then adds: " I am still here. Like a spirit roaming the night. Thirsty, hungry, seldom stopping to rest; anxious to please Sam. I love my work".

A year of hell

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David Berkowitz, also known as the .44 Caliber Killer due to his weapon of choice, was able to keep up his haunting crimes for a span of a year before he was captured and confessed to police in August 1977.

In that year, he killed six people and had wounded seven by August 1977.

After his first murder of Donna Lauria in July 1976, Son of Sam would go on to fatally shoot secretary Christine Freund, Columbia University student Virginia Voskerichian, both Esau and Suriana (mentioned earlier), and finally Violante Moskowitz.

He wasn't arrested until August 10, when cops investigated his car and found a rifle, maps of his crime scenes, and the 44. calibre gun which matched Berkowitz' crime scenes.

The captured killer then reportedly stated during his arrest, simply: "Well, you got me".

The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness is out on Netflix on Wednesday (May 5).

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