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David's Own Personal Testimony

David's Life Story in His Own Words

The Terrible Time, and the Lord's Deliverance--
In His Own Words 



          My Story            by David Berkowitz


May God bless everyone who is reading this message!

My name is David Berkowitz, and I am a prison inmate who has

been incarcerated since 1977.  I have been sentenced to prison

for the rest of my life.  My criminal case is well known and

was called the "Son of Sam" shootings.  It was in 1988, when I

was living in a cold and lonely prison cell, that God got hold

of my life.  Here is my story of Hope-----




Ever since I was a small child, my life seemed to be filled

with torment.  I would often have seizures in which I would

roll on the floor.  Sometimes furniture would get knocked over. 

When these attacks came, it felt as if something was entering

me.  My mother, who has long since passed away, had no control

over me.  I was like a wild and destructive animal.  My father

had to pin me to the floor until these attacks stopped. 

When I was in public school, I was so violent and disruptive

that a teacher, who had become so angry at me, grabbed me in a

headlock and threw me out of his classroom.


I was getting into a lot of fights, too.  Sometimes I started

screaming for no reason.  And eventually my parents were

ordered by school officials to take me to a child psychologist,

or else I would be expelled.  I had to go to this psychologist

once per week for two years.  Yet the therapy sessions had no

affect on my behavior.  During this period of my life I was

also plagued with bouts of severe depression.  When this

feeling came over me, I would hide under my bed for hours.  I

would also lock myself in a closet, and sit in total darkness

from morning until afternoon.  I had a craving for the

darkness, and I felt an urge to flee away from people.




Occasionally this same evil force would come upon me in the

middle of the night.  When this would happen, I felt an urge to

sneak out of the house and wander the dark streets.  I roamed

the neighborhood like an alley cat and would creep back into

the house by climbing the fire escape.  My parents  would never

know that I was gone.  I continually worried and frightened my

parents because I behaved so strangely. At times I would go the

entire day without talking to them.  I would stay in my room

talking to myself.  My parents could not reach me, not even

with all their love.  Many times I saw them break down and cry

because they saw that I was such a tormented person.




Thoughts of suicide often came to my mind.  Sometimes I spent

time sitting on a window ledge with my legs dangling over the

side.  We lived on the sixth floor of an old apartment

building.  When my dad saw me doing this, he would yell at me

to get back inside.  I also felt powerful urges to step in

front of moving cars, or thow myself in front of subway trains. 

At times those urges were so strong that my body actually

trembled.  I remember that it was a tremendous struggle for me

to hold on to my sanity.  I had no idea what to do and neither

did my parents.  They had me talk to a rabbi, teachers and

school counsellors, but nothing worked.




When I was fourteen my mother was stricken with cancer, and

within several months she was dead.  I had no other brothers

and sisters, so it was just me and my dad.  He had to work ten

hours per day, six days per week.  So we spent very little time

together.  For the most part, my mother was my source of

stability.  With her now gone, however, my life quickly went

downhill.  I was filled with anger  the loss of my mom.  I

felt hopeless and my periods of depression mere more intense

than  ever.  I also became even more rebellious and began to

cut out of school.  The day after I graduated I went into the

Army.  I had just turned 18 several weeks earlier.  I joined

the army, in a sense, to start a new life and get away from my

problems.  But even in the service, I had trouble coping,

though I did manage to finish my 3 year enlistment.




I got out of the service in 1974 to start life again as a

civilian.  All my friends that I knew before had either married

or moved away.  So I found myself alone and living in New York

City.  In 1975, however, I met some guys at a party, who were,

I later found out, heavily involved in the occult.  I had

always been fascinated with witchcraft, satanism, and occult

things since I was a child.  When I was growing up I watched

countless horror and satan-type movies.  One of which was

Rosemary's Baby.  The movie in particular totally captivated my



Now I was age 22 and this evil force was still reaching out to

me. Everywhere I went there seemed to be a sign or a symbol

pointing me to Satan.  I felt as if something were trying to

take control of my life.  I began to read the Satanic bible by

the late Anton LaVey who founded the Church of Satan in San

Francisco in 1966. I began, innocently, to practice various

occult rituals and incantations.


I am utterly convined that something satanic had entered into

my mind, and that, looking back at all that happened, I

realized that I had been slowly decieved.  I did not know that

bad things were going to result from all this .  Yet over the

months the things that were wicked no longer seemed to be such. 

I was headed down the road to destruction and I did not know

it.  Maybe I was at a point where I just didn't care.




Eventually I crossed that invisible line of no return.  After

years of mental torment, behavioural problems, deep inner

struggles, and my own rebellious ways, I became the criminal

that, at the time, it seemed is if it was my destiny to become. 

Looking back, it was all a horrible nightmare and I would do

anything if I could undo everything that happened.  Six people

lost their lives. Many others suffered at my hand, and  will

continue to suffer for a lifetime.  I am sorry for that.


In 1978 I was sentenced to about 365 consecutive years,

virtually burying me alive behind prison walls.  When I first

entered the prison system I was placed in isolation.  I was

then sent to a psychiatric hospital because I was declared

temporarily insane.  Eventually I was sent to other prisons,

including the famous "Attica".

As with many inmates, life in prison is a struggle.  I have had

my share of problems, hassles, and fights,  At one time I

almost lost my life when another inmate cut my throat.  Yet all

through this--and I did not realize it until later--God had His

loving hands on me.




Ten years into my prison sentence and feeling despondent and

without hope, another inmate came up  to me one day as I was

walking in the prison yard on a cold winter's night.  He

introduced  himself  and began to tell me that Jesus Christ

loved me and wanted to forgive me.  Although I knew he meant

well I mocked him because I did not think that God would ever

forgive me or that He would want anything to do with me.


Still this man persisted and we became friends.  His name was

Rick and we would walk the yard together.  Little by little he

would share with me about his life and what he believed Jesus

had done for him.  He kept reminding me that no matter what a

person did, Christ stood ready to forgive if that individual

would be willing to turn from the bad things they were doing

and would put their full faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and

wht He did on the cross, dying for our sins.


He gave me a Gideons's Pocket Testament and asked me to read

the Psalms.  I did.  Every night I would read from them.  And

it was at this time that the Lord was quietly melting my stone

cold heart.




One night, I was reading Psalm 34.  I came upon the 6th verse,

which says, "This poor man cried and the Lord heard him, and

saved him from all his troubles."  It was at that moment, in

1987, that I began to pour out my heart to God.  Everything

seemed to hit me at once.  The guilt from what I did....the

disgust at what I had become...late that night in my cold cell,

I got down on my knees and began to cry to Jesus Christ.


I told Him that I was sick and tired of doing evil.  I asked

Jesus to forgive me for all my sins.  I spent a good while on

my knees praying to Him.  When I got up it felt as if a very

heavy but invisible chain that had been around me for so many

years was broken.  A peace flooded over me.  I did not

understand what was happening. But in my heart I just knew that

my life, somehow, was going to be different.




Many hears have gone by since I had that first talk with the

Lord.  So many good things have happened in my life since. 

Jesus Christ has allowed my to start an outreach ministry right

here in the prison where I have been given permission by prison

officals to work in the "Special Needs Unit" where men who have

various emotional and coping problems are housed.  I can pray

with them as we read our Bibles together.  I get the chance to

show them a lot of brotherly love and compassion.


I have worked as a Chaplains's clerk and also have a letter

writing ministry.  In addition, the Lord has opened ways for me

to share with millions via TV programs such as Inside Edition

in 1983 and A&E Investigative Reporter in 1997, what He has

done in my life as well as to warn others about the dangers of

getting involved with the occult.


I have also shared my testimony on several Christian TV

programs such as the 700 Club in 1997, and the Coral Ridge Hour

(Dr. James Kennedy) in 1999.  In 2003, I gave my testimony on

Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family.  For all these

opportunities I am most thankful, and I do not feel I deserve





One of my favorate passages of Scripture is Romans 10:13.  It

says "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall

be saved." Here it is clear that God has no favorites.  He

rejects no one, but welcomes all who call upon Him.  I know

that God is a God of mercy who is willing to forgive.  He is

perfectly able to restore and heal our perfectly broken lives. 

I have discovered from the Bible that Jesus Christ died for our

sins.  Yet He was without sin.  He took our place on that

cross.  He shed His blood as the full and complete payment God

required for our wrongdoing.  The Bible also says, "For all

have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."  Romans 3:23. 

Furthermore, it says, "For the wages of sin is death;`

but the gift of God is eternal life through .Jesus Christ our

Lord".  Romans 6:23.

These passages make it clear that everyone has sinned.  Yes,

some like myself did so more than others.  But all have done

things wrong.  Therefore, we must all make the decision to

acknowledge our sins before God and be sorry for them.  We need

to turn from our lives of sin as well as believe that Christ

was and is the Son of God.


You must believe that Jesus Christ died and was buried, and on

the third day He rose again in victory, for death could not

hold Him.  Ask Christ to forgive you.  Declare Him as Lord of

your life and do not be ashamed to do so.  To reject Jesus

Christ and His work on the cross is to reject God's perfect and

only gift of salvation and eternal life.




Friend, here is your chance to get things right with God.  The

Bible says, if  you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ

is Lord, and if you believe in your heart that God has raised

Him fom the dead, you shall be saved.  For with the heart

mankind believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth

confession of salvation is made.  Romans 10:9,10.  So believe

in  your heart that these words from the Bible are true.


Please consider what I am saying.  I beg you with all my heart

to place your faith in Christ right now.  Tomorrow is promised

to no one.


You see, I am not sharing this message to simply tell you an

interesting story.  Rather I want you to taste the goodness of

God in my life, a man who was once a devil worshipper and a

murderer, to show  you that Jesus Christ is about forgiveness,

hope and change.


I was involved in the occult and aI got burned.  I became a

cruel killer and threw away my life as well as destroyed the

lives of others.  Now I have discovered that Christ is my

answer and my hope.  He broke the chains of mental confusion

and depression that had me bound.  Today I have placed my life

in His hands.  I only wish I knew Jesus before all these crimes

happened--they would not have happened. 


God bless you and thank you for reading this.


With love in Christ,

David Berkowitz




Written March 1999

Updated August 2005



(c) 1999  David Berkowitz

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