Son of Sam and Charles Manson
Source: Getty Images

Serial Killer "Son of Sam" Could Have Actually Had Ties to Cult Leader Charles Manson

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May. 4 2021, Updated 9:33 p.m. ET

Our newest true crime conspiracy is here in the form of Netflix’s The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness. The docuseries explores infamous serial killer David Berkowitz, who has been solely convicted for six murders and another seven attempted murders. But many are still asking if the “Son of Sam” had an accomplice.

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One man, Maury Terry, spent his life poring over the "Son of Sam" case, trying to connect the dots between David Berkowitz and a potential accomplice. His obsession with the case led him to believe that David Berkowitz did have an accomplice in the form of a cult. This cult, he believes, was the inspiration for another infamous serial killer: Charles Manson.

Charles Manson
Source: Getty Images
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Some believe that the "Son of Sam" did have more than one accomplice.

Although David Berkowitz is the only man tried and convicted in the "Son of Sam" killings that transpired from 1976 to 1977, there seems to be evidence that more than one person was participating in these killings. As per several police records, there were multiple eyewitness drawings of the suspect, and all looked very different. Not only that, but none looked like Berkowitz.

So who could the accomplices be? Well, there’s a well-founded theory that has even been corroborated by the "Son of Sam" himself. The legend around the case is that Berkowitz was taking orders to kill from a dog he believed to be possessed by a demon. The dog belonged to his neighbor, Sam Carr.

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Is the name a coincidence? Likely not. Not just that, but David Berkowitz has been tied to both of Sam Carr’s actual sons, John and Michael Carr. In the 1990s, Berkowitz actually named both the Carrs as accomplices and claimed that he himself only pulled the trigger for three of the six murders, although he was present for all six. 

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It’s possible that the “Son of Sam” killings were inspired by a cult with which Charles Manson was reportedly involved.

Once the ties between David Berkowitz and the Carr brothers came to light, more evidence supported that the three of them were involved in a cult. It all goes back to 1966 when the Process Church of the Final Judgment was created that preached the teachings of Jehovah, Lucifer, and Satan, along with Jesus Christ as an emissary.

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Members of the church raised and kept German Shepherds as companions, and the church itself published a magazine titled The Process, to which Charles Manson contributed. And many of the Process Church’s devotees believe that this cult grew into a network of Satan worshippers, one of these offshoots being The Children.

In a conversation with Maury Terry, Berkowitz detailed his involvement with The Children. He and Sam’s sons, the Carr brothers, used to go to Untermeyer Park in Yonkers, N.Y. Berkowitz shared, “There'd be people getting high and going through some rituals. They were into the occult. I met some people there who said that they were witches. There were animal sacrifices and other dark and ugly things happening.”

The animal sacrifices were typically, wait for it, German Shepherds.

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And an investigator, James Rothstein, was able to corroborate this. He found evidence of a child pornography ring that was tied to Untermeyer Park, as well as evidence of animal sacrifices. He explained to Terry, “And here was this building that had all these Satanic ritualistic drawings and stuff of that. So I had a pretty good idea I was looking at some type of a cult activity.”

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Between the Charles Manson-fueled Tate-LaBianca killings in 1969 that were reportedly inspired by aspects of the Process Church and the evidence of Satanic cult activity in Berkowitz’s favorite park, it’s entirely possible that the true culprits were actually the “Sons of Sam.”

Other people think the ideas of a “Son of Sam” accomplice and cult ties are just conspiracy theories.

Although it seems like it’s totally plausible that the “Son of Sam” had accomplices, it’s also possible that Occam’s Razor is at play — the easiest explanation is often the right one. According to Jimmy Breslin, who reported the capture of David Berkowitz firsthand, “When they talked to David Berkowitz that night, he recalled everything step by step by step, the guy has 1000 percent recall and that's it. He's the guy and there's nothing else to look at.”

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While several officers seem to agree with Breslin, there are others who believe there’s no way that Berkowitz acted alone. Not only that, but the Yonkers Police Department reopened the “Son of Sam” case in 1996 to see if there were possible accomplices — and it still has not been closed.

Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness premieres on Netflix on May 5.

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