SON OF HOPE
My Story by
May God bless everyone who is reading this message!
My name is David Berkowitz, and I am a prison inmate who has
incarcerated since 1977. I have been sentenced to prison
the rest of my life. My criminal case is well known and
called the "Son of Sam" shootings. It was in 1988, when I
living in a cold and lonely prison cell, that God got hold
my life. Here is my story of Hope-----
CHILD OF TORMENT
Ever since I was a small child, my life seemed to be filled
torment. I would often have seizures in which I would
on the floor. Sometimes furniture would get knocked over.
these attacks came, it felt as if something was entering
mother, who has long since passed away, had no control
me. I was like a wild and destructive animal. My father
to pin me to the floor until these attacks stopped.
When I was in public school, I was so violent and disruptive
a teacher, who had become so angry at me, grabbed me in a
and threw me out of his classroom.
I was getting into a lot of fights, too. Sometimes I started
for no reason. And eventually my parents were
by school officials to take me to a child psychologist,
else I would be expelled. I had to go to this psychologist
per week for two years. Yet the therapy sessions had no
on my behaviour. During this period of my life I was
plagued with bouts of severe depression. When this
came over me, I would hide under my bed for hours. I
also lock myself in a closet, and sit in total darkness
morning until afternoon. I had a craving for the
and I felt an urge to flee away from people.
A FORCE WAS AT WORK
Occasionally this same evil force would come upon me in the
of the night. When this would happen, I felt an urge to
out of the house and wander the dark streets. I roamed
neighborhood like an alley cat and would creep back into
house by climbing the fire escape. My parents would never
that I was gone. I continually worried and frightened my
because I behaved so strangely. At times I would go the
day without talking to them. I would stay in my room
to myself. My parents could not reach me, not even
all their love. Many times I saw them break down and cry
they saw that I was such a tormented person.
FIGHTING THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE
Thoughts of suicide often came to my mind. Sometimes I spent
sitting on a window ledge with my legs dangling over the
lived on the sixth floor of an old apartment
my dad saw me doing this, he would yell at me
get back inside. I also felt powerful urges to step in
of moving cars, or thow myself in front of subway trains.
times those urges were so strong that my body actually
remember that it was a tremendous struggle for me
hold on to my sanity. I had no idea what to do and neither
my parents. They had me talk to a rabbi, teachers and
counsellors, but nothing worked.
MY MOTHER WAS DEAD
When I was fourteen my mother was stricken with cancer, and
several months she was dead. I had no other brothers
sisters, so it was just me and my dad. He had to work ten
per day, six days per week. So we spent very little time
the most part, my mother was my source of
her now gone, however, my life quickly went
was filled with anger ta the loss of my mom. I
hopeless and my periods of depression mere more intense
than ever. I
also became even more rebellious and began to
out of school. The day after I graduated I went into the
had just turned 18 several weeks earlier. I joined
army, in a sense, to start a new life and get away from my
even in the service, I had trouble coping,
I did manage to finish my 3 year enlistment.
THE FORCE STILL HAD ME
I got out of the service in 1974 to start life again as a
my friends that I knew before had either married
moved away. So I found myself alone and living in New York
1975, however, I met some guys at a party, who were,
later found out, heavily involved in the occult. I had
been fascinated with witchcraft, satanism, and occult
since I was a child. When I was growing up I watched
horror and satan-type movies. One of which was
Baby. The movie in particular totally captivated my
Now I was age 22 and athis evil force was still reaching out to
Everywhere I went there seemed to be a sign or a symbol
me o Satan. I felt as if something were trying to
control of my life. I began to read the Satanic bible by
late Anton LaVey who founded the Church of Satan in San
in 1966. I began, innocently, to practice various
rituals and incantations.
I am utterly convined that something satanic had entered into
mind, and that, looking back at all thet happened, I
that I had been slowly decieved. I did not know that
things were going to result from all this . Yet over the
the things that were wicked no longer seemed to be such.
was headed down the road to destruction and I did not know
I was at a point where I just didn't care.
THE HORROR BEGINS
Eventually I crossed that invisible line of no return. After
of mental torment, behavioural problems, deep inner
and my own rebellious ways, I became the criminal
at the time, it seemed is if it was my destiny to become.
back, it was all a horrible nightmare and I would do
if I could undo everything that happened. Six people
their lives. Many others suffered at my hand, and will
to suffer for a lifetime. I am sorry for that.
In 1978 I was sentenced to about 365 consecutive years,
burying me alive behind prison walls. When I first
the prison system I was placed in isolation. I was
sent to a psychiatric hospital because I was declared
insane. Eventually I was sent to other prisons,
the famous "Attica".
As with many inmates, life in prison is a struggle. I have had
share of problems, hassles, and fights, At one time I
lost my life when another inmate cut my throat. Yet all
this--and I did not realize it until later--God had His
hands on me.
HOPE WAS COMING
Ten years into my prison sentence and feeling despondent and
hope, another inmate came up to me one day as I was
in the prison yard on a cold winter's night. He
introduced himself and
began to tell me that Jesus Christ
me and wanted to forgive me. Although I knew he meant
I mocked him because I did not think that God would ever
me or that He would want anything to do with me.
Still this man persisted and we became friends. His name was
and we would walk the yard together. Little by little he
share with me about his life and what he believed Jesus
done for him. He kept reminding me that no matter what a
did, Christ stood ready to forgive if that individual
be willing to turn from the bad things they were doing
would put their full faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and
He did on the cross, dying for our sins.
He gave me a Gideons's Pocket Testament and asked me to read
Psalms. I did. Every night I would read from them. And
was at this time that the Lord was quietly melting my stone
A NEW LIFE BEGINS
One night, I was reading Psalm 34. I came upon the 6th verse,
says, "This poor man cried and the Lord heard him, and
him from all his troubles." It was at that moment, in
that I began to pour out my heart to God. Everything
to hit me at once. The guilt from what I did....the
at what I had become...late that night in my cold cell,
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
to forgive me for all my sins. I spent a good while on
knees praying to Him. When I got up it felt as if a very
but invisible chain that had been around me for so many
was broken. A peace flooded over me. I did not
what was happening. But in my heart I just knew that
life, somehow, was going to be different.
MANY YEARS OF FREEDOM
Many hears have gone by since I had that first talk with the
many good things have happened in my life since.
Christ has allowed my to start an outreach ministry right
in the prison where I have been given permission by prison
to work in the "Special Needs Unit" where men who have
emotional and coping problems are housed. I can pray
them as we read our Bibles together. I get the chance to
them a lot of brotherly love and compassion.
I have worked as a Chaplains's clerk and also have a letter
ministry. In addition, the Lord has opened ways for me
share with millions via TV programs such as Inside Edition
1983 and A&E Investigative Reporter in 1997, what He has
in my life as well as to warn others about the dangers of
involved with the occult.
I have also shared my testimony on several Christian TV
such as the 700 Club in 1997, and the Coral Ridge Hour
James Kennedy) in 1999. In 2003, I gave my testimony on
James Dobson's Focus on the Family. For all these
I am most thankful, and I do not feel I deserve
THERE'S HOPE FOR YOU TOO
One of my favorate passages of Scripture is Romans 10:13. It
"For whosoever shall call upon the nanme of the Lord shall
saved." Here it is clear that God has no favorites. He
no one, but welcomes all who call upon Him. I know
God is a God of mercy who is willing to forgive. He is
able to restore and heal our perfectly broken lives.
have discovered from the Bible that Jesus Christ died for our
He was without sin. He took our place on that
shed His blood as the full and complete payment God
for our wrongdoing. The Bible also says, "For all
sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23.
it says, "For the wages of sin is death;`
but the gift of God is eternal life through .Jesus Christ our
These passages make
it clear that everyone has sinned. Yes,
like myself did so more than others. But all have done
wrong. Therefore, we must all make the decision to
our sins before God and be sorry for them.. We need
turn from our lives of sin as well as believe that Christ
and is the Son of God.
You must believe that Jesus Christ died and was buried, and on
third day He rose again in victory, for death could not
Him. Ask Christ to forgive you. Declare Him as Lord of
life and do not be ashamed to do so. To reject Jesus
and His work on the cross is to reject God's perfect and
gift of salvation and eternal life.
HERE'S YOUR CHANCE
Friend, here is your chance to get things right with God. The
says, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ
Lord, and if you believe in you heart that God has raised
fom the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart
believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth
of salvation is made. Romans 10:9,10. So believe
heart that these words from the Bible are true.
Please consider what I am saying. I bea you with all my heart
place your faith in Christ right now. Tomorrow is promised
You see, I am not sharing this message to simply tell you an
story. Rather I want you to taste the goodness of
in my life, a man who was once a devil worshipper and a
to show you that Jesus Christ is about forgiveness,
I was involved in the occult and aI got burned. I became a
killer and threw away myu life as well as destroyed the
of others. Now I have discovered that Christ is my
and my hope. He broke the chains of mental confusion
depression that had me bound. Today I have placed my life
His hands. I only wish I knew Jesus before all these crimes
would not have happened.
God bless you and thank you for reading this.
With love in Christ,
Written March 1999
Updated August 2005
(c) 1999 David Berkowitz