Tuesday, August 30, 1977

Detective Slain on Brooklyn Call; Partner Kills Man, Shoots Another

A 34-year-old policeman, responding to a 911 emergency call about a man with a gun was killed by a shotgun blast yesterday as he and his partner tried to enter a room in a shabby brownstone house in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.
The partner killed one man in the room and injured another.

The dead policeman was Joseph Taylor. He was the fourth policeman killed in the line of duty in the city this year.

On the first floor at the top of a high stoop (exterior stairs) they approached apartment #4. The door opened and two shots exploded from a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. One blast struck Detective Taylor in the chest. Officer Roy DeSetto emptied his revolver into the room, then grabbed his fallen comrade’s gun and fired it too at five men inside.

Detective Taylor was a field training specialist who was helping train DeSetto who had been rehired after a two year layoff.

NYT 8/30/77

Monday, August 29, 1977

Cross-Country Jogger Starting From City Hall Today for West Coast

The strange looks began when he walked into Texaco’s Touring Center in New York City several months ago and asked the man behind the desk to plot a jogging trip across the United States for him. “The fellow looked at me as if he thought I were crazy,” Mr. McGrath said in his fine Irish brogue. “I guess you do have to be a little crazy.”

This morning at 10:30 Mr. McGrath plans to set off from City Hall for San Francisco. The runner hopes to reach San Francisco by October 24, covering an average of 70 miles a day along secondary roads through cities and farmland, over the Rocky Mountains and across the Mojave Desert.

A chance encounter with a jogger who had run from Florida to Maine gave him the idea for his cross country run. He sold the bar he bought four years ago and went into training.

He met with similar astonishment from his father and 11 brothers and sisters in Ireland who feared he might be going through a suicidal phase. “They can’t believe I run 60 miles a day. In Ireland people are easygoing.”

Mr. McGrath will be accompanied by three friends and Mena Monaghan, his childhood sweetheart who grew up across the street from him in the village of Ederney County Fermanagh and who became his wife yesterday afternoon.

When he arrives at San Francisco City Hall he said he will probably “get drunk.” He recently acquired another bar called the Irish Marathon Inn.

NYT Dunning 8/29/77

Cosmos Subdue Sounders for Title, 2-1

Steve Hunt (English player) stole the ball from the goalie to score the first goal. Pele said, “I always tell the players in practice to look at the ball during the game. You never know what happens – maybe the goalkeeper gets a heart attack and drops it.”

(In this case the goalie probably wanted to die by heart stoppage or a gun shot to the head.)

For Hunt it was his fourth goal of the playoffs. He also assisted on the winning goal, which was Chinaglia’s ninth of the playoffs, setting a league record. The goal came as something as a surprise since he is not known for his headers.

NYT 8/29/77

Girl, 16, Escapes from Rikers Island

A 16-year-old girl, held on several felony charges, escaped last night from Rikers Island according to the City Department of Corrections.

The girl was identified has Linda Catapano of Staten Island. The correction official said she was being tracked by blood hounds and the harbor patrol. She had been held since August 9th on charges that include possession of a dangerous weapon, theft of a vehicle and possession of stolen property.

Excerpt from The New York Times 8/29/77

A Tenant Checks Out, Leaving 7000 Library Books

A Queens building superintendent, himself a former librarian, yesterday reported finding “over 7,000, maybe 10,000” costly technical books from public libraries in shopping bags and piles in the otherwise nearly bare apartment of an absconded tenant.

Excerpt from Wolfgang Saxon Aug 29, 1977 New York Times

Saturday, August 27, 1977

Survey Shows New Yorkers Link Looting to Thievery, Not Protest

New Yorkers strongly condemned the looting during last month’s blackout as common thievery, rather than a protest against ghetto living conditions. Residents also favor a call-up of the National Guard in any future blackout, but overwhelmingly reject and “shoot to kill” orders to the police or guardsmen in the event of looting.

Sixty percent of 2200 respondents to a NYT/CBS survey said that looters were “the kind of people who always steal if they think they can get away with it.” 66% said “it was a chance to get even with storekeepers in their area.” 74% said the reason people stole was not because they are “poor and needy.”

excerpt from Frank Lynn NYT 8/27/77

Thursday, August 25, 1977

Cosmos Defeat Lancers 4-1 Before 73,669 and Reach Title Final

The Cosmos are a game away from presenting Pele with a championship in his last year of an illustrious 22-year career.

Giorgio Chinaglia tallied the first two goals for the Cosmos only scoring in the first half. Vito Dimitrijevic scored the third and Pele iced the victory, the 11th in a row at home.

Eddie Firmani’s players came out like hungry lions, just as they said they would.

Steve Hunt raced along the left sideline and then crossed the ball to Chinaglia in front of the Rochester goal.

The Cosmos leading goal-scorer in the playoffs, who is deadly as a cobra up close, blasted the ball into the net for his seventh goal in postseason play.

NYT Yannis 8/25/77

.44 Caliber Suspect Refuses to Acknowledge Name

David R Berkowitz, who is accused of being the .44-caliber killer, refused to admit to his name at his arraignment yesterday on three murder charges in the Bronx.

The 24-year-old mail clerk, wearing blue pajamas, a blue bathrobe and slippers, was brought into a makeshift courtroom on the sixth floor of Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn and led to a table draped with a white sheet at which Justice Alexander Chananau of State Supreme Court was seated.

The court clerk began with the question: “You are David Berkowitz?”

“No, your honor, I’m not.” Mr. Berkowitz replied. In two previous arraignments he responded to his name.

As he spoke in a soft voice, Mr. Berkowitz’s eyes did not meet the judge’s but seemed to shift beyond him, to the barred and mesh windows.

Before another question could be asked Mark Heller, one of Mr. Berkowitz’s attorneys moved in front of Leon Stern, another attorney and said: “At this time, I request that the defendant stand mute. Mr. Stern and his associate Mr. Jultak looked stunned.

For the first time, Mr. Berkowitz, who has undergone psychological, medical and brain tests since his arrival at the hospital two weeks ago appeared rigid. His blue eyes were intense and glassy, and he squinted. Other sources said yesterday that he had been medicated.

Excerpt from Marcia Chambers Aug 25, 1977 New York Times

Monday, August 22, 1977

4 Gunmen Flee Museum with $50,000 to $100,000 in Rare Coins

Four armed men overpowered two guards at the American Numismatic Society’s museum at Broadway and 156th Street yesterday afternoon, and then, after smashing four display cases and scoping up as many as 300 rare coins, strolled out the front door, telling waiting visitors that the museum was closed.

The police valued the coins at between $50,000 and $100,000, but the museum employee said last night that their value might be even higher. The robbery began at 1pm, the museum’s opening time.

In their apparent haste to depart, the gunmen overlooked a fifth case containing gold coins. They also left untouched an even more valuable collection of paper money. Other major collections were locked in vaults and were not disturbed.

During most of the robbery, an employee reported, the doorbell was being repeatedly rung by an indignant party of three visitors who were upset that the four men who came out had been allowed in while they had been forced to wait outside.

excerpt from NYT 8/22/77

Son of Sam Case Poses Thorny Issues for Press

Among the issues were:

The degree to which constitutional guarantees of press freedom imply unstated responsibilities.
The difference between reporting and exploiting the news.
The propriety of reporters’ becoming part of the story they are covering.
The conflict between the public’s right to a fair trial.
The question of reporters’ violating the law to obtain information.
The ethics of news organizations’ paying for information, letters, diaries or interviews.

Like the case itself, which resulted in the largest manhunt in the city’s history, the story built slowly.

It began July 29, 1976, when 18-year-old Donna Lauria was shot and killed as she sat in an automobile double-parked in front of her Bronx home. A girlfriend was wounded in the attack.

Over the next eight months, the gunman struck four times, killing two and wounding three others. When the police announced – following the shooting of Virginia Voskerichian in Queens last March – that the crimes were the work of an individual, press attention and public interest rose sharply.

Another note, sent to Jimmy Breslin, a columnist for The Daily News, stimulated attention and interest beyond what anything that had proceeded it when it was published in his column on June 5th. According to Mr. Breslin, the column was written after consultation with the police, who thought it might encourage the killer to write again and leave a clearer set of fingerprints.

On June 26, he struck again. Wounding a young man and a young woman. Two weeks later, Mayor Beame stepped in front of television cameras to say that, in light of the approaching anniversary of Ms. Lauria’s death, he was adding detectives to the “Son of Sam” case.

The Mayor’s statement tended to reinforce the growing – but highly speculative – perception that the killer would strike again on the anniversary.

On July 28, Breslin’s column header: “To the .44 Caliber Killer On His 1st Deathday,” “Is tomorrow so significant to him that he must go out and find a victim?”

On July 29th, the anniversary, The Post ran the headline: “GUNMAN SPARKS SON OF SAM CHASE” over a story detailing a police pursuit of a man with a gun walking long the Cross Bronx Expressway. At the bottom of the story readers were informed that: police say the mystery gunman was definitely not Son of Sam. “NO ONE IS SAFE FROM SON OF SAM!” Post headline the day after the Moscowitz shooting. MOBSTERS JOIN THE HUNT three days later.

While many aspects of the story warranted front-page attention by any standards of news judgment, the two city tabloids – and Rupert Murdoch’s Post in particular – were widely criticized for sensationalizing the story to boost circulation.

Even before the capture of David Berkowitz, The New Yorker said that “just about everything done by the press here – especially by the Post and the News – has made a bad situation worse for the residents of New York. By transforming a killer into a celebrity, the press has not merely encourage but perhaps driven him to strike again – any may have stirred others brooding madly over their grievances to act.”

Post response: “If it offends the delicate sensibilities of the Algonquin crowd, so be it.”

Another matter touched upon by The New Yorker article concerned the various appeals made by Pete Hamil and Mr. Breslin, Daily News columnists and Steve Dunleavy of The Post for the killer to turn himself into them or their newspaper.
(Section that follows lifted by Klausner in his book).

Perhaps the most egregious journalistic liberty was taken by The Post on August 15, when, under a black headling “HOW I BECAME A MASS KILLER” – it carried, in bold letters, the byline: “By David Berkowitz.” The “story” was in fact a series of letters the suspect had written some years before. (Letter bought from the ex-girlfriend for a few hundred bucks). $500 Post and only $200 News.

Excerpt from Carey Winfrey Aug 22, 1977 New York Times

Wednesday, August 17, 1977

Berkowitz Pleads Not Guilty in Brooklyn Murder

David R Berkowitz, accused of being the Son of Sam slayer, yesterday retained a new lawyer, plead not guilty to murdering a young woman in Brooklyn last month and informed the court that if he ever went to trial his defense would be insanity.

Mr. Berkowitz, the chunky, blue-eyed mail clerk, wore the same blue and white striped short-sleeve shirt and blue jeans he was wearing when arrested one week ago.

The introduction of yet another lawyer into the Berkowitz case surprised many of the 150 spectators in the courtroom, including, from his expression, the judge.

Victim’s Parents Tell Yonkers They Will Sue

The parents of Stacy Moskowitz, the last victim of the Son of Sam killer, plans to sue the city of Yonkers for $10 million, charging that its Police Department failed to follow up complaints against David R Berkowitz, accused of being the killer.

Excerpt from Marcia Chambers Aug 17, 1977 New York Times

Tuesday, August 16, 1977

Berkowitz Lawyer Seeking to Pull Out of Case After Reported Attempt to Sell Tapes of His Client

A Brooklyn lawyer who is said to have tried to sell the taped memoirs of David Berkowitz, the accused .44-caliber killer to two newspapers asked a Criminal Court judge yesterday to relieve him as Mr. B’s attorney.

“If I am guilty of anything,” Mr. Peltz said, “it is my failure to foresee that anyone who became involved with this case would be the subject of media notoriety.”

(Meaning that he overreached and realized that he was now in big trouble. Better to fly under the radar.)

Mr. Peltz, who obtained a document signed by Mr. B giving him power of attorney and full title to literary and media memoir rights, said he “unequivocally and unconditionally relinquished all fees, earnings or agent commissions which have accrued or may inure from this case.”

“I want no part of it,” he said, “for to do otherwise would contribute to what I think is an unwarranted view of the profession and myself.”

Peltz said that the 6 hours of tapes had been turned over to a “respected” lawyer who he would not name.

Mr. Peltz, who is facing disbarment proceedings in Brooklyn arising from his conviction and prison sentence seven years ago in a Federal securities case, appeared to be making a conciliatory gesture to the bar.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District said yesterday that Mr. P’s felony conviction was referred to the Bar Association of New York in 1972, but authorities of the bar association said yesterday that a preliminary record check disclosed no receipt of the case. Disbarment in New York State is automatic if a defendant’s Federal felony conviction is also a felony under state law. (Mr. P’s conspiracy felony is a misdemeanor under state law so his disbarment in discretionary.)

Mr. Peltz has given a number of explanations as to how he came into the Son of Sam case: an unidentified person telephoned him, a member of the family hired him, a message was left on his answering machine, and, finally, that after meeting Mr. B for the first time last Thursday, he was retained by the defendant himself.

Excerpt from Marcia Chambers Aug 16, 1977 New York Times

Phone Call to Yonkers Police Had Pivotal Role in Arrest of Berkowitz

During the first week in August, days after the death of Stacy Moscowitz, Mrs. Nann Cassara said she tried to call Yonkers police to tell them she believed David Berkowitz could be the Son of Sam. “With a man that crazy, you just can’t tell,” she said about her suspicions. She said that a detective she described as “rude” rebuffed her and she dropped the matter.

On August 5, the Yonkers patrolmen Intervalllo and Chamberlain gave their information to New York Detective Richard Salverson. This appears to be the first time that the name David Berkowitz was brought to the attention of NY police.

On August 9th Detective James Justus from Brooklyn called the Yonkers police to ask them to contact David Berkowitz who had received a parking summons in the area of the Moscowitz killing. The call was answered by Miss Wheat Carr who reportedly made some comments about her suspicions concerning Mr. Berkowitz and put the detective in touch with the patrolmen. The patrolmen related a series of circumstances that linked Mr. B to the .44-caliber killings. “The detective was so stunned he dropped the phone. The next day they picked up Berkowitz.”

Mr. Carr and his daughter said through their lawyer that they would not consent to an interview on the specifics of their involvement for less than $15,000.

Excerpt from Ronald Smoothers Aug 16, 1977 New York Times

Monday, August 15, 1977

Cosmos Triumph at Giants Stadium Before Record Soccer Crowd of 77,691

The Cosmos treated 77,691 fans, the largest crowd that has ever watched an event at Giants Stadium or attended a soccer match in the United States or Canada, to an exhibition of magic tonight.

The crowd witnessed the Cosmos’ 8-3 playoff victory over the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers in an atmosphere that was, in the words of one of those present, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, “so overwhelming.”

With Pele, Franz Bechenbauer, Steve Hunt and Giorgio Chinaglia at the helm, the Cosmos were indeed a pleasure to the eye.

NYT Yannis 8/15/77

136 Policemen Will Be Rehired to Aid Hunt for .44-Caliber Killer

With 300 New York City police officers assigned to the hunt for the .44-caliber killer, and 75 more on an expanded search for terrorist bombers, Commissioner Codd said yesterday that 136 laid-off police officers would be rehired today, and more later this month.
The New York Post published a report yesterday that Carmine Galante, as a mafia chief of organized crime, had called for “5000 soldiers” to find the killer ostensibly to stop murders of young girls like his daughters. The Post also attributed the command to a loss of business for mob-controlled entertainments because young people were staying home more, out of fear.

Excerpt from Peter Kihss Aug 5, 1977 New York Times

The Mind of the North

The summer of 1977 will be remembered for one of those moments of self-jarring self-revelation that come to a people from time to time. The New York blackout, and the looting that accompanied it, were memorably disturbing events.

“Animals” was the most-quoted word used by New Yorkers to describe the looters. Others included “rabble,” “parasites” and “piranha.”

The message conveyed by those epithets was not subtle. Everyone understood that they were about race. (As in blacks are animals).

George Will, a columnist ordinarily notable for his sensitivity and sophistication, drew from the blackout looting the proposition that “The United States has within its urban population many people who lack the economic abilities and character traits necessary for life in a free and lawful society.”

Of course it is true that there are bad citizens in this country. But they are not limited to New York, or to urban areas, or to the poor. If there is anything that the terrible recent history of mankind should have taught us, it is the danger of generalized statements suggesting the culpability of particular classes or groups.

A widespread comment in the New York situation has been that the poor in the ghettos are a feckless lot. “They give nothing and expect everything,” one letter writer put it.

Least of all is bigotry likely to produce peace. It is honest to recognize that blacks in our major cities have special disabilities, the expectable result of a history of slavery and segregation and dislocation. But contempt is no answer. The North will have to learn what the American South did in our lifetime: that bringing the excluded minority into our society is right for reasons not of altruism but of self-interest.

excerpt from Anthony Lewis NYT 8/15/77

Grand Jury in Brooklyn Due To Act Today – Dispute Over Which Lawyer Represents Berkowitz Continues

In recent days, the controversy over Mr. B’s lawyers had developed into a major legal battle that remained unresolved over the weekend as arrangements were being made for the suspect’s expected arraignment in State Supreme Court.

Meanwhile police continued to investigate a report that Mr. B and a unidentified young man had visited a Westchester kennel last Wednesday, hours before his arrest.

Mr. Berkowitz, according to the Daily News, wrote about the use of drugs, such as LSD and morphine, and his refusal to carry a gun in Korea, in letters to Iris Gerhardt, a high school friend.

The paper, back then, was printed in black and white, but the language was more colorful.

Excerpt from Marcia Chambers Aug 15, 1977 New York Times

What Now for the Grieving Families of “Son of Sam’s’ Victims?

“If there were a scale of onerousness,” said Dr. Edwin Scheidman UCLA, “after suicide, homicide would be the worst.”

“Stigma is a very big problem in homicide,” Mrs. Clelia Goodyear said. “Often the families will move from their communities after the murder because they can’t face their neighbors. They feel ashamed – it’s dirty linen – not like a child dying of cancer. And the death almost always causes a major disruption in the family.”

“The unconscious meaning of the Son of Sam deaths was punishment for people who were young, attractive, sensual, romantic,” said Dr. Peretz. (Punishment for Disco) For some of the families involved there is the stigma of a child being shot in lovers’ lane.

“This is the best city in the world,” said Johnny Diel, the fiancé of Christine Freund, one of the five young women murdered by the Son of Sam. “Because of the tremendous community support in these highly publicized cases,” said Dr. Bruce Danto, “the families may pull together faster. You can’t indict cancer and send it to prison – you just feel helpless, but when someone captures your killer, you can feel justice and vindication.”

“I want him to be tortured and his eyes gouged out,” said Neysa Moscowitz.

“The press has been wonderful,” said Jerome Moscowitz, father of Stacy. “The come in and do their work and then they stay for hours and talk. Geraldo Rivera kissed my daughter Ricki goodbye.”

Excerpt from Joan Kron Aug 15, 1977 New York Times

Sunday, August 14, 1977

Berkowitz Purchased Semiautomatic Rifle In Brooklyn in 1976

David Berkowitz bought a .45 caliber semiautomatic rifle (Commando Mark III) that the police say he planned to use in an attack on a Long Island discotheque and a final suicide shootout in an apparently legal purchase from a small gun shop in Brooklyn on Jan. 26, 1976.

The weapon was taken from his car the night he was arrested. Berkowitz told police he was planning to strike against a disco in the Hamptons that evening and would then shoot it out with pursuing officers. “I wanted to get killed. But I wanted to take some cops with me.”

In purchasing the weapon, she said, Mr. Berkowitz had filled out city and federal forms testifying that “he was not a junkie, not a nut, a mental case and that he had not been dishonorably discharged.”

Mrs. Rutuelo said she had been told that a Commando stolen from her shop had been used in the robbery of a bank and a subway token booth. “I try to avoid a sale if I think they’re a ding-a-ling.”

Excerpt from Joseph Treaster Aug 14, 1977 New York Times

Court Inquiry Is Set On Bid To Sell Tapes

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn plans to investigate the conduct of two lawyers who offered to sell taped memoirs they had obtained from David Berkowitz to at least two newspapers.

The court is also expected to inquire how the lawyers, Phillip Peltz and Ira Leifel managed to come into the state’s case against Mr. Berkowitz, the 24 year old mail clerk accused of being the slayer called “Son of Sam.”

Mr. Peltz is currently facing possible disbarment proceedings before the same court as a result of a 1969 Manhattan Federal conspiracy conviction that only recently came to the attention of the Brooklyn authorities. (The family hired Leon Stern – a store front lawyer from Mineola - as David’s lawyer.) Mr. Peltz said that David Berkowitz had retained him.

The controversy over just which lawyer represents Mr. B. flared up in public yesterday when Mr. B’s father confronted Peltz in the King’s County Hospital lobby and ordered him off the case. Mr. Peltz has a prior criminal conviction for securities violations.

Another issue yet to be resolved is the security of the 6 hours (?) of tapes.

On Thursday morning Mr. Peltz served notice of appearance in Criminal Court that he was representing Mr. B. and told Judge Brown that a member of the family had hired him – a claim the father said in a letter was untrue. Following the arraignment Mr. Peltz went to the hospital, interviewed Mr. B. and obtained a document signed by the suspect giving him power of attorney and full title to literary and press memoir rights. During the course of the evening Mr. Peltz appeared on a television new show saying the “precious rights” of Mr. B to a fair trial had to be preserved. Shortly before midnight, according to Peter Michelmore, an associate editor at The Post, Mr. Peltz and Mr. Leitel appeared in the newspaper’s city room. The lawyers offered to sell the newspaper serialization and book rights to a 30-minute taped interview and subsequent taped interviews for $100,000.

Under the terms of the agreement, Michelmore said he was told, Mr. B. would get two-thirds of the net proceeds and Mr. Peltz would get one-third. “I rejected the offer. I was quite startled. It seemed the whole thing was so absurd and distasteful.” Two hours later the tapes were offered to The Daily News for $50,000.

Excerpt from Marcia Chambers Aug 14, 1977 New York Times

Suspected .44 Killer’s Father Term Himself a Victim, Too

“I will live with this heartache for the rest of my life.” Speaking at an outdoor news conference in a light rain, Nathan Berkowitz, a 68 year old gray haired former Bronx hardware store owner, said in a voice choked with emotion:

“If what I read is true, I would like to say to all those families that have lost children, and have had children injured, I deeply grieve for you with all my heart. If David did these things, I don’t expect you to forgive him, as this would be too much to ask. All of those people who have known David and me – we, too, are victims of this tragedy.”

Nate wore tinted glasses, an orange jacket and a yellow golf hat which he subsequently removed. He sat at a table that was placed outside the new State Supreme Court Building with tears streaming down his face.

Sobbing uncontrollably, he lowered his head and put a hand to his face. The entire statement took 3 minutes and 15 seconds for him to read. One observer said it seemed like hours.

Excerpt from Leonard Buder Aug 14, 1977 New York Times

Statistics Profile Looting Suspects

But they acknowledged that the survey might show that there was less of a connection than many analysts had contended between the jobless rate and impoverished neighborhoods and the incidence of disorders such as those last month.

Looters were compared to a randomly selected group of defendants arraigned between June 6 and June 12. Looters were more likely to be employed (42 v 30), less likely to be on welfare (10 v 16), and less likely to be unemployed but not on welfare. Looting involved a lot of people with prior arrest records. A lot of people just joined in when they knew they could.

excerpt from NYT 8/14/77

A Little Light on the Blackout

A statistical portrait of persons arrested as looters in New York City’s blackout last July 13-14, seems to contradict statements made by President Carter and others that the looters were largely people who were jobless and hungry.

The Criminal Justice Agency surveyed 2,706 adults arrested and found that 45 percent had jobs, a rate significantly higher than normal among criminal suspects. Only 10 percent were on welfare compared with the usual 15 percent.

But the Brooklyn DA, who did his own survey, said that discounting those in training or poverty programs, the actual employed came to only 11 percent.

excerpt NYT 8/14/77

Another Shooting is Laid to Suspect in “Sam” Case

Following the shootings, Mr. Berkowitz says he drove for two hours through Brooklyn before he parked at Sunset Park, two miles from the scene of the crime. He sat on a bench reading the Sunday newspapers until 8 am. Then he crossed the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan and arrived in Yonkers at 10:30am (??).

His escape by car across the city was accomplished despite the “Code 44” alert the police used to supposedly block all exit routes from Brooklyn.

Berkowitz said he bought the .44-caliber Charter Arms Bulldog revolver in Houston with 100 rounds of ammunition (for $130) for the purpose of returning to New York to commit murders. “I had to get the gun… for my job.” He explained that his job was “killing people.”

On the night of the Moscowitz and Violante shootings, Mr. B sat on a bench in the Bay Shore Park watching Miss M and Mr. V on the swings. He then watched the couple return to their car and waited 10 minutes before he approached and fired four shots. Mr. B said he “sprayed” the vehicle with gunfire.

“I wanted her more than anything.” Meaning that she was the murder target.

Mr. B said that he had visited the park where the young couple was shot prior to the actual attack. On each of these scouting missions he was armed. “I always take that out at night.”

Excerpt from H. Blum Aug 14, 1977 New York Times

Friday, August 12, 1977

The Police Sketch v the Suspect

As New Yorkers scoured the news photographs, searching for the kind of evil in the face of David Berkowitz that they have long expected (they were surprised to find that it wasn’t there – CC). Why, it was repeatedly asked, did the composites not look more like the man taken into custody?

“If the witness tells me that a guy has a carrot growing out of his ear, I’m going to put that carrot in the picture,” said William McCormack, the police officer who drew the sketch of Son of Sam released three days ago. Officer McCormack sighed again. He had to do a lot of this kind of explaining since Mr. Berkowitz was arrested. Only the hair bears resemblance to the latest sketch and whose plumpish face seemed the only link to earlier drawings done by other police artists.

Excerpt from Aug 12, 1977 New York Times

Victims Show Relief and Bitterness

Joanne Lomino, who is 18 years old, has been paralyzed from the waist down by a bullet that crashed into her spine on a wintry night last November as she sat with her friend, Donna DiMasi, 17, on the porch of the Lomino home in Bellerose Queens. Miss DiMasi, too, was shot, but has fully recovered from her neck wound.

Neysa Moskowitz said, “As far as I’m concerned, his name is a snake. I can’t stand snakes. I abhor them and I fear them. The only thing that was missing when I looked at him (on television) was the skin.”

Excerpt from Aug 12, 1977 New York Times

Four Newsmen Arrested in Suspect’s Apartment

Four newsmen were arrested today after they allegedly were found inside the “Son of Sam” suspect’s apartment after it was officially sealed by police.

Two reporters from the Washington Post and two photographers: one working for Time magazine and one for the Daily News. Their film was seized.

Excerpt from Aug 12, 1977 New York Times

Berkowitz Is Described as “Quiet” and as a “Loner”

To his coworkers and most neighbors, David R. Berkowitz was a quiet, almost cherubic-looking individual who kept pretty much to himself, never went out with women and was hardly the type to attract attention, much less inspire fear and terror.

But inside his Yonkers studio apartment (rent $230.50), where he kept the windows covered by bedsheets, the killer scrawled lurid poetry and mystical statements on the walls including references to Sam and his dog. Around a hole in one wall, Mr. Berkowitz drew a circle and made an arrow pointing to the circle and wrote, in effect “This is where I live.”

A coworker at the post office recalled that on one recent occasion Mr. Berkowitz advised another coworker, Theresa Graziano, “Theresa, you should put your hair up in a bun because he’s going after girls with long hair.” But usually, if he were not working, he sat along and read books.

Mr. Berkowitz, it turned out, had been a New York City auxiliary police trainee before going into the military.

“He was always alone and never spoke to you more than to say hello. He enjoyed drinking beer. We used to joke about his waistline. He was always carrying six-packs.” (5’7’ or 5’8’)

Excerpt from Leonard Buder Aug 12, 1977 New York Times

Sam Suspect Arraigned, Held for Mental Tests

The police said the suspect, by his own account, was seized as he left home to seek out another victim, this time in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. He also said, according to police, that he had been making plans to commit a mass murder with a machine gun at a discotheque in one of the fashionable communities along the South Shore of Suffolk County. When taken into custody, he had a loaded machine gun in his car.

Outside the courthouse, sidewalk crowds chanted, “Kill, kill,” but Mr. Berkowitz was taken into the building by underground tunnel from the nearby Brooklyn House of Detention. Clad in the same blue-and-white striped short sleeve shirt and blue jeans he was wearing when arrested, Mr. Berkowitz appeared calm and alert.

Robert McFadden Aug 12, 1977 New York Times

Grocer and Son Cleared in Slaying of Alleged Murderer of His Wife

A Brooklyn grocer, his son and family friend have been cleared of murder charges in the killing of a man believed to have murdered his wife during a robbery several weeks ago.

A Brooklyn grand jury refused to indict the three for murder, but did hand down an indictment charging them with possession of a dangerous weapon (maximum 7 years in prison).

Asked if he decision by the grand jury not to indict the three men for murder indicated their sanction of the slayings, a spokesman for DA Gold refused to comment.

excerpt from Dena Kleiman 8/12/77

Wednesday, August 10, 1977

Two Deaths on Long Island Rails: Was the Second a Lover’s Suicide?

Late in the afternoon of Saturday July 30, Donald Bryne was struck and killed by a Long Island Railroad train. Eight days later the woman he loved, Lorraine Scheele, died. She was killed by a train driven by the same engineer at the same time on a fading summer day and practically on the same spot at the Massapequa Park Station.

Moments before the express train hit her, Miss Scheele, who would have turned 23 this Saturday, extended her arms toward it, making the sign of the cross and then, as the train whistle screamed, covered her ears with her hands, according to police reports based on witness accounts.

The police said that Mr. Bryne, a 29 year old Vietnam vet had stumbled off the station platform apparently drunk, just as the eastbound train hurtled down the tracks toward Babylon. According to police he and Miss Sheele had had an argument earlier that muggy afternoon at a party they had attended. Miss Scheele did not approve of his drinking.

Excerpt from Pranay Gupte Aug 10, 1977 New York Times

Saturday, August 06, 1977

Police To Restrict Parking By Couples

Mayor Beame yesterday ordered the police to chase away couples parked in isolated areas of the city and to record the license-plate numbers in an effort to prevent further shootings by the .44-caliber killer.

The police hope that a three-minute color videotape, featuring Deputy Inspector Timothy Dowd and Detective James Gallagher, to be played at every roll call in each of the 73 precincts throughout the city over the next five days will provide uniformed patrol officers with information that might result in the arrest of the “prime suspect.”

Excerpt from Howard Blum Aug 6, 1977 New York Times

Police Begin Distributing New Drawing of .44 Killer

The latest description makes the suspect a little heavier and perhaps a little younger than the man depicted in two earlier police fliers that were widely circulated. The alleged killer was described in the new flyer as a clean-shaven white male, 25 to 32 years old, 5’8’ to 5’9’, 165 to 175 pounds with an athletic build, “dark almond-shaped eyes, dark wavy hair, sensuous mouth, high cheekbones.”

Meanwhile in Central Park, vendors have begun selling “Son of Sam” T-shirts. The white shirts include an earlier police sketch of the suspect and the message: “Son of Sam – Get him before he gets you.”

Excerpt from Aug 6, 1977 New York Times

Friday, August 05, 1977

250 Policemen Volunteer to Hunt In Spare Time for Son of Sam

At least 250 police officers have volunteered to patrol sections of the city on their own time as part of the hunt for the .44-caliber revolver killer, Mayor Beame announced last night. The mayor commended the officers for “giving up their own free time without pay to assist in the largest manhunt in the city’s history.”

Tension over the .44-caliber killer led to a mob-like scene in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn yesterday when a group of shouting bar patrons attempted to attack a man in a yellow car who was being arrested for alleged possession of two guns. A passer-by witnessing the police disarm the man of a .38-caliber revolver and a .357 magnum ran into a nearby bar, Captain Walter’s and shouted that the police were arresting Son of Sam. The bar patrons swarmed outside and attempted to attack the prisoner who was hustled into a patrol car and quickly driven away.

Excerpt from John McQuiston Aug 5, 1977 New York Times

About New York: A .44-Caliber Cloud of Fear

It takes no very deep probing to pry expressions of fear and pessimism from New Yorkers. Even in the happiest of times and the best of circumstances, caution is a way of life. Even a haphazard meeting of the eyes on a street is avoided lest some latent hostility should explode.

Small wonder, then, that the .44-caliber killer, with his shocking and mysterious mayhem, had riveted public attention with his latest atrocity and heightened the perceptions of a people already disposed to expect the worst.

The murder in Brooklyn of Stacy Moskowitz and and the wounding of Robert Violante have preoccupied the minds and conversations of many New Yorkers to a degree that the previous seven attacks did not. It has become a staple of conversation particularly among women, in neighborhoods far from the scene of the crime.

Why has the Brooklyn murder of the blonde-haired young woman and the wounding of her escort provoked such deeply felt reaction? There is perhaps no one certain answer, but there are a number of indications. “After the two were shot in Bayside we were bombarded with brown-haired women who wanted haircuts. Now I’m waiting for blondes to call. This was not a Christian girl, and you don’t have to have long dark hair to get shot.”

Excerpt from Richard Shepard Aug 5, 1977 New York Times

Chief Detective Asks Reporters to Stop Going After Witnesses to .44 Slayings

Chief of Detectives John L Keenan appealed to reporters yesterday to stop tracking down witnesses in the .44-caliber killings and to “let the police interview such people.”

The coverage by newspapers, radio and television has been so extensive that reporters have sometimes got to witnesses before the police. There were times when detectives leaving the investigation’s headquarters in Flushing Queens to interview potential witnesses had been followed by reporters. When the police finished their interviews, reporters rushed in. Tommy Z, who witnessed the Moskowitz/Violante shooting in his rear view mirror was interviewed by newsmen.

The more profound question is whether the huge coverage by the media encourages the killer. Psychologists agree that he wants publicity and enjoys the cat-and-mouse game with police. “One thing about the paranoid personality is that it tends to be very ego-involved.”

Excerpt from Deirdre Carmody Aug 5, 1977 New York Times

Thursday, August 04, 1977

100,000 Leave New York Offices As Bomb Threats Disrupt City; Blasts Kill One and Hurt Seven

Terrorist bombs exploded in two midtown Manhattan office buildings yesterday morning, killing one man and injuring seven other persons, while dozens of bomb threats forced more than 100,000 people to evacuate their offices.

The entire twin towers of the World Trade Center were evacuated, as were seven floors of the Empire State Building. The self-styled FALN terrorist group took responsibility for the explosions, leaving a statement at the base of the statue of Jose Marti, the Cuban revolutionary in Central Park that called for the independence of Puerto Rico.

The evacuations caused traffic and pedestrian jams around the city, as entire streets and sidewalks were closed. Wherever fire and police vehicles gathered, throngs of people stood in the rain and pushed against wooden or rope barricades for a better view. Some people took advantage of the early quitting time to socialize in local bars, while thousands of others went home.

To date, investigators have linked 59 bombings to the group. The most devastating of which was the lunch-hour blast in January 1975 that shattered Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan, killing four persons and injuring 53.

Diners in the crowded restaurant, a historic landmark, where George Washington bade farewell to his officers, were hurled from their tables. One man was decapitated and other victims staggered bleeding into the streets.

Breasted NYT 8/4/77

Who Is Really Behind that .44? Police Pursuing Many Theories

Who is the Son of Sam?

The killer could be a laid-off policeman. This theory is favored because the killer has a knowledge of guns, fires with accuracy from a combat stance, has knowledge of neighborhoods, and in one letter referred to the NCIC.

The killer could be a freelance journalist. In his letters Son of Sam writes with clarity and follows punctuation rules, including the use of a semicolon. The possibility that he may be a freelancer would explain why he hasn’t been turned in by coworkers noticing similarities to the police sketches. The police believe a journalist could also freely return to the scene of the crime.

The killer is a taxi driver – This theory explains his knowledge of neighborhoods and escape routes in the city. It would also provide the killer with a getaway vehicle that might not be noticed and with an occupation that would provide both the anonymity and the flexible schedule required to plan the eight attacks.

Excerpt from Howard Blum Aug 4, 1977 New York Times

Tuesday, August 02, 1977

Woman Victim Dies As Over 300 Officers Hunt for .44 Gunman

Stacy Moskowitz died in Kings County Hospital Center late yesterday, 38 hours
after she and a 20-year-old male companion were shot early Sunday by the so-called .44-caliber revolver killer who has adopted the name “Son of Sam.”

Her death came three hours after the Chief of Detectives, John Keenan announced that more than 300 detectives and other members of the police force, an increase from 180 before last weekend, had been thrown into New York City’s hunt for the gunman. “She would have been a vegetable had she survived,” said Dr. William Shuchart. Her heart had stopped “at least a half dozen times” during the day.

Neysa Moskowitz said “I hope he suffers the rest of his life. I hope he eats his heart out with a cancer. I would die to see this man punished.”

Excerpt from Peter Kihss Aug 2, 1977 New York Times

Monday, August 01, 1977

.44 Killer Wounds 12th and 13th Victims 8/1/77

With massive police patrols focused elsewhere in the city, the killer who calls himself “Son of Sam” shot and critically wounded a young couple early yesterday as they sat in a car parked on the Brooklyn waterfront a mile south of the glittering lights of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

The killer’s strike yesterday had the earmarks of a deadly cat-and-mouse game with the police. It came two days after the anniversary of his first murder, an anniversary that was marked by increased patrols, wide publicity and spreading public fears. And it came for the first time in Brooklyn, more than 10 miles from his previous attacks which were clustered in northern Queens and the east Bronx – where the weekend’s patrols were concentrated.

Some witnesses said a yellow Volksmagen was seen leaving the area shortly after the shooting.

Excerpt from Robert McFadden Aug 1, 1977 New York Times

For the Police, the Latest Attack Enlarges Already-Large Haystack

Within two hours after the shooting, Inspector Dowd had decided to institute a “Code 44” – the special strategy police put into use when the Son of Sam strikes. While police at the scene roped off the site of the shooting and immediately began the search for witnesses, other units were alerted to watch bridges and highways – possible escape routes for the killer.

An angry Sgt. John Coffey of the homicide force said, “We had 2,000 cops out looking for Sam this weekend. We thought for sure he would strike in Queens or the Bronx, but all the publicity must have driven him into Brooklyn.”

The frustration of the task force officers was also evident as they conceded that their chief suspects – all under surveillance since Thursday – had now been dramatically and conclusively able to establish their innocence.

“It’s a whole new ball game now. There were many people who we had ruled out. The worse would be if we had talked to Sam and let him go.” Dowd

Excerpt from Howard Blum Aug 1, 1977 New York Times