Son of Sam



Son of Sam
David Berkowitz

The day of Berkowitz\'s arrest, Sergeant Joseph Coffey was called in to interview him. Calmly and candidly, David told him about each of the shootings. When the interview was over there was no doubt that Berkowitz was the Son of Sam. The details that he supplied about each assault were bits of information that only the killer would know.

At the end of the session, Berkowitz politely wished him "good night." Coffey was amazed by Berkowitz. "When I first walked into that room I was full of rage. But after talking to him....I feel sorry for him. That man is a *censored*ing vegetable!"

Who was David Berkowitz anyway and how did he become the Son of Sam?

While David did not start his life under the most auspicious circumstances, he grew up in a middle-class family with doting adoptive parents who showered him with gifts and attention. His real mother, Betty Broder, grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Her family was poor and she had to struggle to survive during the Depression. Her Jewish family opposed her marriage to Tony Falco, who was Italian and a gentile.The two of them scraped some money together to start a fish market in 1939. Then, Betty had a daughter Roslyn. After that, things did not go well with the Falco\'s marriage and Tony left her for another woman. The fish market went bust and Betty had to raise Roslyn by herself.

The loneliness of being a single parent was relieved when she began an affair with a married man named Joseph Kleinman. But things went awry when she became pregnant. Kleinman refused to pay any child support and vowed to leave her unless she give up the baby. Even before David was born on June 1, 1953, she had arranged for his adoption.Her sadness at giving up her child was mitigated somewhat by the knowledge that a good Jewish couple was ready to adopt her son. With her newborn gone, Betty resumed her affair with Kleinman until he died of cancer in 1965.

David was lucky to be adopted by Nat and Pearl Berkowitz, a childless couple who were devoted to their new son. He had a normal childhood in the Bronx with no clear warning signs of what was yet to come. Perhaps the most significant factor in his life was that he was a loner. His parents weren\'t particularly socially oriented and neither was David.

He was always big for his age and always felt different and less attractive than his peers. All through his youth he was uncomfortable with other people. He did have one sport -- baseball -- which he played well.His neighbors remember him as a nice-looking boy but with a violent streak, a bully who assaulted neighborhood kids for no apparent reason. He was hyperactive and very difficult for Pearl and Nat to control.

David did not realize that Pearl had suffered from breast cancer before he was born. When it recurred in 1965 and again in 1967, David was shocked. Nat hadn’t kept his adopted son very well informed about the prognosis and David was therefore shocked to see how badly Pearl dissipated from the chemotherapy and the illness itself. He was devastated when Pearl died in the fall of 1967.

When David was in his early teens, his parents tried to flee their changing neighborhood to the middle-class safety of the enormous sprawling high-rise development of Co-Op City. By the time their apartment was ready, Pearl had died. David and his father lived in the new apartment alone.David began to deteriorate after Pearl\'s death. His grade average nose-dived. His faith in God was shaken. He began to imagine that her death was a part of some plan to destroy him. He became more and more introverted.

In 1971, Nat remarried a woman that did not get along with David. The couple moved to a Florida retirement community without him, leaving him to drift, absent of a purpose or a goal. He just existed until his fantasy life had become stronger than his real life.He did have one relationship with a girl named Iris Gerhardt. The relationship was more fantasy on Berkowitz\'s part. Iris considered him only a