Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

David Berkowitz: The Son of Sam


Of these three assaults which had occurred in two different areas, the Bronx and Queens, only one bullet had been recovered intact. Consequently, police were not yet able to link these attacks to a single individual.

Things quieted for two months. Then in the early hours of January 30, 1977, the killer went hunting for his next victim.

Christine Freund, victim
Christine Freund, victim

Twenty-six-year-old Christine Freund and her fiance John Diel left The Wine Gallery in Queens around 12:10 A.M. and strolled towards his car. They were too absorbed in each other to observe that man who had been watching them.

As they sat in the car, two shots broke the night, shattering the windshield. Christine grabbed her head; both shots had struck her. John rested her head on the driver's seat and ran for help, trying to flag down passing cars, but to no avail. People in nearby homes had heard the shots and had called the police.

A few hours later Christine died in the hospital.

Forty-three-year-old Detective Sergeant Joe Coffey was a big, handsome Irishman known for his toughness and dedication. He and Captain Joe Borrelli started to work on this latest homicide. They had two theories: that the killer was either a psycho or someone who had something personal against Christine Freund.

Coffey could see that the bullets used to kill her were not typical. They had come from a powerful, large caliber gun. Investigating further, he discovered that her murder matched those other assaults on Donna Lauria, Donna DeMasi and Joanne Lomino.

Coffey had a hunch that they were dealing with one psycho packing a .44, stalking women in various parts of the city. As his investigation began to bear fruit, a homicide task force was formed under Captain Borrelli. Ballistics reported that the weapon employed was a .44 Charter Arms Bulldog — an unusual weapon.

After probing into the backgrounds of the murders and their victims, police were unable to find any suspect on record; nor could they find any common thread that linked the victims to one another or a third party. It was beginning to look as though a psycho had randomly targeted attractive young women for assassination.


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