In the summer of 1976, New York found itself harassed and attacked by a series of shooting murders. The perpetrator was dubbed the “.44 Caliber Killer.” The shootings began in July 1976 until August of 1977 when the killer was captured by the NYPD in Yonkers. The man arrested happily admitted to being the self-named “Son of Sam” that had dominated headlines and ended lives over the past year. The man arrested became known to be David Berkowitz, 24, an unknown postal worker.
Berkowitz admitted to all of the connected shootings, 8 in total, over the past year. 6 were murdered in these shootings, and 7 were injured. The court deemed Berkowitz fit to stand trial but he entered a guilty plea which negated the need for a trial. He was sentenced to 6 terms of 25 years to life. He has been denied parole at every opportunity. During this time, Berkowitz claimed that he had heard the voice of a demon, “Sam,” who spoke to him through the dog of his neighbor, Sam Carr. This demon allegedly ordered David to kill, no doubt a tactic for an insanity defense before he was deemed mentally competent.
In February 1979, in a press conference held by Berkowitz and his attorneys, he admitted that there were, “no real demons, no talking dogs, no satanic henchmen.” He went on to explain that the story was, “just invented by me in my own mind to condone what I was doing.” Berkowitz has had a rather quiet time in prison, aside from an attack later in 1979 in which he was cut across the throat with a razor blade. He refused to state who had attacked him. He has gone on to discover religion and has a personal website with religious inspiration. He now prefers to be called the “Son of Hope,” and has publicly apologized for the crimes.
Who is John Carr?
John Carr, or “Wheaties” as he was nicknamed, was a neighbor of David Berkowitz. He was the son of Sam Carr, the owner of the “demonic dog.” He was thought to be a close friend of Berkowitz, both involved in a local satanic cult. John Carr lived in North Dakota at the time of the murders, but traveled to New York many times. He was found dead in his girlfriend’s apartment in 1978. His death was considered a suicide, yet many believe he was murdered for his connection to David Berkowitz.
During the time span of the shootings, many eye witnesses gave descriptions of the shooter, which was then sketched for the public. It can be immediately noticed that the sketches do not all look like one person. Some witnesses claimed to have seen Berkowitz, and others did not. In an interview with Inside Edition in 1993, Berkowitz claimed that he was a part of a “satanic cult” that conspired to kill and leave New York in terror. He refused to give names for the alleged cult members, but further admitted to animal sacrifice in a wooded area of Untermyer park in Yonkers. He went on to admit to hundreds of arsons, which were documented in his journal, and confirmed by fire department records. He claimed, “the demons wanted the fire.” He said his part of the crimes was to “scout” and “report back potential targets.” He admitted in an interview to committing 2 of the 8 shootings.
“Our goal was to bring chaos to the city,” he claimed.
During the shootings, many letters were sent to taunt the police.
John Carr’s Connection
In one of the letters above, the author lists names for the police department to send to the N.C.I.C. (National Crime Information Center). Among those names is one, “John ‘Wheaties’ – Rapist and Suffocater of young girls.” As stated above, John Carr was nicknamed “Wheates” by friends because of his older sister, Wheat Carr. In addition, John Carr was a known associate of David Berkowitz. Also, Carr could also be compared to the sketches of the perpetrator and appear to fit one of the descriptions. Carr was also described as being deeply involved in the occult, as well as a “satanic cult” in which animal sacrifices were performed in rituals.
It is also alleged by neighbors that Sam Carr, John’s father, was a strict disciplinarian who would lock up his children as punishments. In one letter sent by the “Son of Sam,” the writer stated, “Papa Sam keeps me locked in the attic too.” Still, Berkowitz makes distinction that the name “Son of Sam” did not come from the dog, who’s name was Harvey, or Sam Carr. “Samhain, was the diety that was communicating with me,” he said in an interview. “I was under a spell.” He added. All of this evidence is quite circumstantial concerning the Carr men, but fascinating nonetheless.
Who is Michael Carr?
Michael Carr is the brother of John and second son of Sam Carr. He is also a known occultist at the time who associated with John Carr and David Berkowitz. He lived in Yonkers at the time of the shootings. In 1979, Michael Carr died in a single-car accident in Manhattan.
The Bottom Line
David Berkowitz had taken back his claim that an ancient demon spoke through his neighbor’s dog, commanding him to kill. In later interviews, he claimed the press had misunderstood, or willingly misrepresented, his statement, and that he really meant that he heard the voice through his mind, not directly from the dog. He claims that the shootings were a group conspiracy of a satanic cult that practiced rituals and animal sacrifice in Yonkers’ Untermyer Park. Many of those associated with his allegations have passed away, and Berkowitz does not seek parole. His reasoning for refusing to name the members of the cult was originally to protect his father, who was still living and in Florida.
He remains imprisoned in New York at 69 years old.