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'Demon' dogs ordered serial killer 'Son of Sam to murder multiple attractive women, the twisted killer claimed.
New York City spiralled into a state of panic for over 12 months as a mystery sadist shot dead six young adults one by one, until police finally had 24-year-old David Berkowitz in handcuffs.
The evil postal worker explained he was merely carrying out the wishes of his neighbour's black labrador, and an equally blood-thirsty German shepherd.
Remarkably for all his bizarre claims, Berkowitz was cleared as medically "competent" to stand trial, for the deaths of six strangers and seven more wounded between July 1976 and August 1977,
Berkowitz who was adopted as a child, moved into a two-family home in Yonkers, a suburb of New York in January 1977, which he shared with a German shepherd.
By this point, he already had blood on his hands for the murders of two teenage girls, Jody Valenti and Donna Lauria, in the Bronx on July 29, 1976.
The emergency medical technician and nurse were sitting in Valenti's car outside of Lauria's home, unaware that a dangerous creep looking to start his killing spree was lurking around them.
Berkowitz took fire, killing them both.
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Security guard Carl Denaro, 20, and 18-year-old student Rosemary Keenan were Berkowitz's next targets in Flushing, Queens however both survived.
Denaro's long hair was later suspected by police to have mistaken the shooter into thinking he was a woman.
A month later students Donna DeMasi, 16, and Joanne Lomino, 18, some how survived the soon-to-be dubbed 'Son of Sam's' fire.
As he escaped justice and remained under detectives' radar, the murderer kick start a second spate of killings.
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Berkowitz became convinced that the German shepherd he lived with, along with others in the community, ordered him to murder attractive young women, History.com reports.
The first fatality under the supposed instruction of a demon pet was Christine Freund on January 30.
Ms Freund, 26, was shot in the head twice by Berkowitz as she sat with her fiancé in his car which put police on his trail as he used the same .44 caliber gun as in all his other shootings
Cops initially referred to him as the ".44-caliber killer” until it was replaced by “Son of Sam”.
Disturbed by the German shepherd, Berkowitz moved again a few months later in April to an apartment house in Yonkers.
Yet far from escaping the canine's reported devilish commands, a new dog, this time a labrador retriever called Harvey, had the killer pick up his weapon once more, he claimed.
Biography.com says Berkowitz later told investigators of a demon-possessed pooch which told him to murder behalf of his retired owner neighbour Sam Carr.
A massive team of detectives called the “Omega” task force was dedicated to identifying the serial killer after he murdered 19-year-old Columbia University student Virginia Voskerichian.
With only textbooks to shield herself, Voskerichian was shot in the head at about 7:30 pm on March 8, 1977.
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Berkowitz teased detectives with a note at the crime scene of his final fatalities, 18-year-old Valentina Suriani and 20-year-old Alexander Esau on April 17, History.com reports.
Where the couple had been kissing in their parked car just moments earlier, the .44-caliber killer signed a note off as the Son of Sam.
Just over a week later on April 29, Berkowitz turned on the very same dog he claimed to have been working for.
Berkowitz sent neighbour Sam Carr an anonymous threatening letter about Harvey before shooting him dead.
With the dog recovered, Yonkers police launched an investigation while Berkowitz aroused the suspicion of neighbours as being the Son of Sam, by sending them bizarre letters.
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Reports to the police went without response as the The Omega task force was flooded with dead-end leads.
Not done yet, the Son of Sam struck shot at another pair Judy Placido and Sal Lupo sitting in their car after leaving a Queens disco.
Mass panic surrounding the serial killer escalated to fever pitch in New York with young women and couples too afraid to head out in the evening.
On July 31, just two days after the anniversary of Berkowitz's first killing, Stacy Moskowitz, 20, died as she kissed her boyfriend Bobby Violante, 20, in a car parked beneath a lamp post.
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Four rounds were fired from just three feet away on the passenger side of the vehicle, striking both victims in the head.
Violante survived but was practically blinded in his right eye.
The Son of Sam said he was on his way to kill someone else when police arrested him outside his home on August 10 1977.
Since the investigation and his trial which landed him six 25-years-to-life sentences, Berkowitz has tried to claim his dog story "was all a hoax, a silly hoax.”
- Serial Killers
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