Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

David Berkowitz: The Son of Sam


Donna Lauria, Son of Sam's first victim, had been murdered on July 29, 1976. Considering the Son of Sam letter that was sent to reporter Jimmy Breslin, in which she alone was prominently mentioned, police were worried about an anniversary killing. The newspapers made absolutely certain that the entire city expected another killing on or around that day.

The Omega task force was desperate. How to protect a whole city of young women from a random killer? Detective Coffey even considered placing cops in bullet-proof cars with mannequins to try to lure the killer. It was a waiting game. Tensions built steadily until July 29 and nerves were at a breaking point all that day and night, but no Son of Sam. Not that day. Two days later when the police were beginning to feel relieved that the anniversary had passed without another murder, the Son of Sam took his last victims.

In the early morning of Sunday, July 31, 1977, a pretty, vivacious young woman named Stacy Moskowitz sat with her handsome young boyfriend Bobby Violante in his dad's car. They had gone to see a movie and had ended the evening parked in a quiet spot near Gravesend Bay.

"How about taking a walk in the park?" He suggested.

Stacy was reticent. "What if the Son of Sam is hiding there?"

"This is Brooklyn, not Queens. Come on," he urged her. They got out of the car and walked over to the park swings. Bobby leaned forward to kiss her and she saw something.

"Someone's looking at us," she whispered.

Bobby saw a man nearby, but the stranger turned away and disappeared behind the parked cars.

Stacy was frightened and wanted to go back to the car. When they got to the car, Stacy wanted to leave, but Bobby persuaded her to stay for another few minutes while they kissed.

"All of a sudden," Bobby recalled, "I heard like a humming sound. First I thought I heard glass break. Then I didn't hear Stacy any more. I didn't feel anything, but I saw her fall away from me. I don't know who got shot first, her or me."

Stacy Moskowitz, victim
Stacy Moskowitz, victim

Bobby Violante had been shot twice in the face. Stacy had been shot once in the head. Bobby could hear her moaning. He hit the car's horn and then pulled himself from the car and cried for help.

Police were on the spot in short order and Stacy and Bobby were on their way to Coney Island Hospital. Stacy's parents arrived at the hospital just in time to see her being wheeled out of the hospital. The seriousness of her head wounds required her to be moved to Kings County Hospital where the facilities for head trauma were more extensive.

Together, the parents of Bobby and Stacy waited for hours as surgeons worked to save their children. Thirty-eight hours later, Stacy Moskowitz died. Bobby Violante survived, but he had lost his left eye and had only 20% vision in his right eye.


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