Son of Sam’ serial killer says he expects to die in jail, be redeemed by God

(JTA) — Forty years after he terrorized New York with a string of deadly assaults, serial killer David Berkowitz said remorsefully that he expects to die in prison for actions which he cannot explain.

Berkowitz, 64, gave an interview to the New York Daily News Thursday, the 40th anniversary of his arrest for murdering six people and wounding seven others in a series of shootings in 1976-1977 in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

“It never goes away … I have to make peace (with it),” Berkowitz, whose mother was born to a Jewish family, said of the crimes, which caused a panic until his arrest. He was known in tabloids as the “Son of Sam” (after a neighbor whose dog, Berkowitz claimed, had ordered the killings) and “The .44-Caliber Killer.” He was indicted for eight separate shooting incidents, in between which he taunted police and communicated with famed journalist Jimmy Breslin.

Berkowitz, who was given up for adoption and raised by a Jewish family, now counsels fellow inmates and serves as assistant to the minister at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility, the Daily News reported.

Speaking about his crimes, he said he had been under “demonic influences,” although he was found mentally competent to stand trial.

“I was overcome,” he added. “I don’t expect anyone to understand.”

Berkowitz said discussion of his gruesome deeds at this point is “excruciating.” And while he once considered parole a possibility, he now considers death behind bars a near certainty. “I don’t believe I can redeem myself,” Berkowitz told the Daily News. “But I do believe that God can redeem me.”

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