'Son of Sam' serial killer who became Christian behind bars says his name is now 'Son of Hope'
The summer of 1976 to the following July of 1977 is a time many New Yorkers still haven't forgotten as it was the time that a serial killer was on the loose, picking off his victims with a shotgun or knife and taunting police with mocking letters as they hunted him down.
That serial killer was 'Son of Sam,' a name that still sends chills down many New Yorkers' spines.
Real name David Berkowitz, he was eventually caught after a massive manhunt but not before six people were dead and several others seriously injured.
His victims were mostly young women and he was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences after pleading guilty in May 1978.
'Son of Sam' was the nickname he gave himself as he claimed during his trial that a demon had spoken to him through his neighbor's dog called Sam and told him to carry out the murders.
In a new interview with CBS News, Berkowitz said there was a 'battle going on inside of me' and that he thought he 'was doing something to appease the devil.'
'I'm sorry for it,' he said.
Astonishingly, Berkowitz has told of a most amazing transformation behind bars from someone who walked 'in darkness' to a follower of Jesus Christ.
At one time he might have revelled in his fame as a serial killer, but now he says he hates the name 'Son of Sam' and prefers to go by the name 'Son of Hope.'
He looks back on his former self as exactly that - his old self before he became a born again Christian while serving his sentence in prison.
'As far as I'm concerned, that was not me,' Berkowitz said during the CBS News interview. 'That was not me. Even the name, I hate that name, I despise the name.'
Asked what message he would give to his younger self if he could, he said he would tell him 'turn around before it's too late because destruction is coming.
'People will never understand where I come from, no matter how much I try to explain it,' he said. 'They wouldn't understand what it was like to walk in darkness.'
Minister Roxanne Tauriello, who is one of Berkowitz's frequent visitors in prison, told People that he 'grieves' over what he did but at the same time 'does not want to get out of prison' because 'he knows he deserved to die and deserves to be exactly where he is.'
Now Berkowitz just wants to warn young people who are 'on the road to destruction' to choose a different way.
'One of his ministries is to reach out to young people to show them the consequences of [their] actions,' said Tauriello.