I recently binge-watched The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness on Netflix. If you haven’t already watched it, I recommend it. It’s a fascinating four-part documentary. If you’re looking for an in-depth documentary about David Berkowitz a/k/a The Son of Sam a/k/a/ the .44 Killer, this isn’t it. The first episode is a recap of the case, and full of actual news broadcasts and interviews. This show is about a journalist named Maury Terry, and how his obsession with Berkowitz and the theory that he didn’t act alone, basically ruined his life.
Berkowitz shot thirteen people in the summer of 1976, killing six of them. After he went to prison, the killings stopped and the nightmare was over. But not as far as Maury Terry was concerned. There had been several different descriptions of the suspect given by witnesses. This had Terry thinking that there may have been more than one shooter. He started to dig deeper and was soon convinced that Berkowitz didn’t commit all of the crimes himself. This theory was fueled greatly by correspondence from Berkowitz himself, including a letter in 1981 that said, “I am guilty of these crimes. But I didn’t do it all.”
Everyone wanted an official end to the “Summer of Sam”, and the police were in a rush to close the case against Berkowitz. Supposedly, mistakes were made and things were overlooked during the investigation. The police didn’t pay attention to Terry’s theories and stuck by their arrest. This was the beginning of Terry’s trip down the rabbit hole.
Terry devoted the rest of his life to trying to prove his theory. He followed every lead, conspiracy theory, and rumor. He tried to obtain every piece of information and/or evidence that he could, but the police were not cooperative. His investigation took him from the Bronx to Yonkers, and all the way to North Dakota. Having grown up in the Bronx, and hung out in Untermyer Park, it was extra entertaining to me!
The show gives us some new players to consider and goes further into Berkowitz’s satanic cult involvement. Whether or not his theories make sense is up to you. Any conspiracy theory can sound like it makes sense if you word it right, but that doesn’t make it true. And as we’ve all learned by now – a story can be edited to make it fit any purpose you’d like. Either way, Terry was 100% convinced that he was right, and nothing was going to change his mind.
After corresponding with Berkowitz, he got to go to the prison and interview him. The maniacal smiling face from the day he was captured is gone. He became a Christian in prison and is very calm and somber-looking. He refuses to give any more information about who he would have been working with. Afterward, all we get is a very disappointed and annoyed Terry leaving the prison.
Sadly, Terry let his search for the other shooters consume his entire life. He died without ever being able to prove anything. He published a book about it called The Ultimate Evil: An Investigation into America’s Most Dangerous Satanic Cult. It’s up to you to decide if you believe that there were other Sons of Sam.