Netflix’s new docuseries The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness goes into depth in the story of the “Son of Sam,” the serial killer who terrorized New York City in the 1970s. While David Berkowitz confessed to the crimes of the “Son of Sam,” he later added that John and Michael Carr, the actual sons of Sam Carr, pulled the trigger for three of the murders.
Sam Carr was Berkowitz’s neighbor in Yonkers, N.Y., who was the owner of the infamous dog “possessed by demons” who instructed Berkowitz to murder. Berkowitz even named Sam Carr as the Sam he referred to in his notorious letters to the police and the media. So what happened to Sam Carr and his two sons, John and Michael Carr?
It is believed that John and Michael Carr could be tied to the “Son of Sam” murders, but they were never under police investigation.
Although some shrug off an accomplice theory as conspiracy, there is some evidence that John and Michael Carr could have been involved in the “Son of Sam” murders.
While the best we can go off of is a 1993 interview in which David Berkowitz admitted that he did not single-handedly kill the victims and that John and Michael were involved, there’s some more substantial evidence from earlier on as well.
John Carr actually lived in Minot, N.D., after serving in the Air Force until 1974. However, he died just six months after Berkowitz was captured by gunshot. It looked like a suicide, but some believe it may have been a homicide.
When investigating John Carr’s death, Lieutenant Terry Gardner relayed to the New York Times, “There is no doubt in my mind, based on interviews I conducted and information I have obtained, that John Carr and Berkowitz knew each other well.”
John Carr was back in Yonkers during the first half of the “Son of Sam” killings and only returned to Minot in 1977, where he mentioned David Berkowitz’s name to friends.
Furthermore, a separate investigation into Satanic cult activity in Untermeyer Park linked John Carr to the same Satanic cult that Berkowitz later claimed fueled the “Son of Sam” murders. And a note next to John Carr’s body contained the letters, "NYCSS," which some believe stands for “New York City Son of Sam.”
Michael Carr also died mysteriously after the “Son of Sam” killings.
If John Carr’s mysterious death wasn’t enough evidence that something fishy was going on, Michael Carr died in 1979, just two years after Berkowitz’s confession. This was the same year investigators started looking into potential ties to the Carr brothers, but the investigation was ultimately dropped.
Some think that could be because the Carr brothers actually had a sister, Wheat Carr. Wheat worked as a civilian dispatcher for the Yonkers Police Department and could have had her own ties to the “Son of Sam” killings, although that’s all speculative.
Michael Carr died in a car crash in Manhattan in a one-car accident on the West Side Highway. Wheat reportedly believed that he was driven off the road or had his tire shot out, although there’s no reported evidence of foul play.
Sam Carr, the Sam referred to in the “Son of Sam” letters, went off the map.
While it’s suspected that the Carr brothers may have been involved in the “Son of Sam” killings, it seems unlikely that Sam Carr himself was involved. He had an upstanding reputation in Yonkers and did not seem to know David Berkowitz personally.
However, neighbors actually thought Sam Carr to be a very harsh man — there are allegories that he was a strict disciplinarian who would lock up his sons as punishment. The “Son of Sam” letter supported this, saying, “Papa Sam keeps me locked in the attic. He beats his family. And of course, I am the Son of Sam.”
On the other hand, there’s evidence that Berkowitz harassed the Carr family in the midst of the murders. He wrote them a letter in April 1977 that read, “I have asked you kindly to stop that dog from howling all day long, yet he continues to do so … My life is destroyed now. I have nothing to lose anymore. I can see that there shall be no peace in my life, or my family's life until I end yours.”
As it turns out, Berkowitz actually shot Sam Carr’s dog, Harvey, that he had claimed to be taking his orders to kill from. But while we know the fate of Sam’s dog, we know little about what happened to Sam. The Carr family received a lot of unwanted attention, and even an obituary is impossible to find, but it’s likely Sam died of old age.