THE INVESTIGATION

August 11, 2018 at 4:30 am

Retired NYPD detective Bill Clark was assigned to the team investigating the murders. He brings us inside the case.

Aired on August 11, 2018.

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>> IT WAS A QUIRK OF FATE AND
GOOD LUCK THAT DAVID BERKOWITZ,
THEN A 24-YEAR-OLD POSTAL WORKER
LIVING IN YONKERS, WAS ARRESTED
ON AUGUST 10th, 1977.
BILL CLARK IS A FORMER NYPD
DETECTIVE WHO WORKED THE CASE.
HE'S HERE TO TAKE US INSIDE THE
TERROR AND TAKEDOWN OF ONE OF
AMERICA'S MOST NOTORIOUS
KILLERS.
BILL, WELCOME TO YOU.
LET ME START OFF BY ASKING YOU
THIS -- WHAT WAS IT, DO YOU
REMEMBER THE MOMENT WHEN THE
DEPARTMENT AND THE FOLKS THAT
WERE ON THIS CASE FIRST REALIZED
THIS MIGHT NOT BE A SINGLE
INCIDENT, WE MIGHT, INDEED, HAVE
A SERIAL KILLER ON OUR HANDS?
>> I THINK THE THING THAT NAILED
IT WAS THE LETTER TO BRESLIN.
BEFORE THAT, IT WAS A RESOLVER
SO THERE WERE NO SHELLS, BUT
THERE WAS THE BULLETS THAT WERE
IN THE -- YOU KNOW,
.44 CALIBER.
AND IT WAS IDENTIFIED PROBABLY
ABOUT THREE INCIDENTS , IT WAS
WROTE THE LETTER.
>> DESCRIBE HOW THE PUBLIC WAS
REACTING TO THESE SERIES OF
KILLINGS, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT
BECAME KNOWN THAT WE WERE
TALKING ABOUT A SERIAL KILLER.
>> I THINK THE THING THAT MADE
HIM DIFFERENT -- I WORKED THE
INDIVIDUALS, OTHER KILLERS THAT
WERE SERIAL KILLERS, BUT THEY
ALWAYS WERE TARGETING OTHER DRUG
DEALERS OR PEOPLE WHO PUT
THEMSELVES IN HARM'S WAY BASED
ON THEIR BEHAVIOR.
THESE WERE TOTALLY INNOCENT
VICTIMS WHO DID NOTHING TO PUT
THEMSELVES IN HARM'S WAY,
THEY'RE SITTING ON THE STOOP,
THEY'RE SITTING IN A CAR,
THEY'RE KISSING THEIR BOYFRIEND.
SO IT REALLY HAD EVERYBODY IN
PANIC.
PEOPLE WERE AFRAID TO GO OUT AT
NIGHT.
YOUNG WOMEN WERE AFRAID.
IT REALLY HADHECIFULL-BLOWN PAN.
AND I DON'T THINK ANYBODY BEFORE
OR AFTER THAT HAS EVER -- IT'S
AFFECTED PEOPLE IN THAT REGARD.
>> SO YOU GET THE STRING OF
EVENTS, A SUMMONS ISSUED FOR A
PARKING VIOLATION.
A PERSON ON THE PHONE SAYS "I
KNOW THIS GUY, HE'S CRAZY, SHOT
MY FATHER'S DOG."
YOU GET OUT TO HIS HOUSE,
THERE'S SOMEBODY WHO ALSO SAYS
"I KNOW THIS GUY, HE'S CRAZY."
NOW THE NAMES ARE THE SAME NAMES
THAT ARE SHOWING UP IN THE
INFORMATION THAT'S BEING LEFT BY
THE SON OF SAM.
SO DAVID BERKOWITZ WALKS OUT AND
LITERALLY HAS A BAG WITH THE
RESOLVER AND SAYS "I GIVE UP,
I'M THE GUY"?
>> THAT'S CLOSE, NO.
WHAT HAPPENED WAS WHEN THEY WERE
SET UP ON THE CAR A DISTANCE
AWAY WATCHING IT TO SEE IF HE'D
COME OUT --
>> RIGHT.
>> -- BECAUSE THEY WERE GOING TO
GET -- ONE GUY WENT TO GET A
SEARCH WARRANT FOR THE CAR TO
SEARCH IT.
AND THIS GUY, CRAIG, CAME WALKED
UP IN THE CAR, THEY JUMPED HIM.
HE SAID, YOU KNOW -- THEY
THOUGHT HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE
OWNER OF THE CAR.
HE SAID, NO, I SAW SOME GUYS
WALKING AROUND.
I WONDERED WHY -- BLAH, BLAH,
BLAH.
HE TOLD THEM THAT.
THEY ALL INCLUDING CRAIG SAT A
DISTANCE AWAY WATCHING THE CAR.
BERKOWITZ COME OUT TO GET IN THE
CAR, AND THEN WHEN THEY GRABBED
HIM, THAT'S WHEN HE SAID, "YES,
I'M THE SON OF SAM."
>> IS IT A REASONABLE
ASSUMPTION, BILL, TO SAY HE WAS
ABOUT TO GET IN HIS CAR WITH THE
GUN IN THE BAG, THAT IT MAY WELL
HAVE STOPPED ANOTHER HOMICIDE
FROM TAKING PLACE?
>> THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.
HE ACTUALLY HAD A RIFLE IN THE
BACK OF THE CAR.
AND THE LETTER WAS TO THE
SUFFOLK POLICE DEPARTMENT SAYING
HE WAS GOING TO GO INTO THE OAK
BEACH INN, NIGHTCLUB, AND GO OUT
IN A BLAZE OF GLORY, SHOOTING UP
AS MANY PEOPLE AS HE COULD AND
PROBABLY DYING.
THAT'S WHAT HE HAD SAID.
>> TELL US ABOUT DAVID
BERKOWITZ.
WHAT WAS HE LIKE?
WHAT DID HE SAY ABOUT ALL OF
THIS WHEN HE GETS ARRESTED?
>> WELL, I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO
GET ALONG WITH HIM IN A -- GET
ALONE WITH HIM IN A ROOM FOR
ABOUT A HALF HOUR.
AND HE TOLD ME ABOUT EVERY
INCIDENT AND WHY HE DID IT AND
WHAT STARTED IT AND -- AND HOW
HE FELT.
HE WAS TALKING VERY RELAXED.
I MEAN, THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT
HE HAD BEEN LIVING THROUGH.
AND YOU KNOW, HE WAS KIND OF
LOVING THE GLORY BECAUSE
OBVIOUSLY HE LEFT THE LETTERS
THERE BECAUSE HE WANTED
PUBLICITY.
HE WANTED TO BE THIS KIND OF
GUY.
IF YOU SEE THE PICTURES OF HIM
GETTING TAKEN OUT OF THE STATION
HOUSE AND EVERYTHING, HE'S -- HE
LOVES IT.
I ALWAYS THOUGHT BECAUSE I HAD
TO DEAL WITH THE VICTIMS OF
THESE CRIMES AND THEIR FAMILIES,
IT WAS -- IF I EVER GOT IN A
ROOM WITH THIS GUY, I WOULD RIP
HIS HEART OUT OF HIS CHEST.
WHEN I SAT DOWN WITH HIM AND HE
STARTED TALKING, YOU REALIZED HE
WAS JUST REALLY CRAZY, YOU KNOW.
AND I COULDN'T GET MAD.
I JUST COULDN'T -- AS MUCH AS I
HATED WHAT HE'D DONE.
>> YOU SAID HE TALKED TO YOU
ABOUT EACH OF THEM AND YOU SAID
HE TALKED ABOUT WHY.
WHAT DID HE SAY ABOUT WHY HE WAS
DOING THIS?
>> HE HAD SHOT AND HE THOUGHT
KILLED SAM CARR'S DOG.
THEN A COUPLE DAYS LATER, SAM
CARR AFTER THE VET TREATS THE
DOG, HE PUTS IT BACK IN THE
YARD, IT'S BARKING AGAIN.
IN HIS SICK MIND HE STARTS
UNDERSTANDING THAT THIS DOG IS
TALKING TO HIM FOR THE OWNER,
SAM, AND HE'S A 6,000-YEAR-OLD
BEING AND CRYING FOR BLOOD.
BUT THE ONE THING AND WHY HE'S
IN JAIL FOR REST OF HIS LIFE IS
BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH HE'S CRAZY,
HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING WAS
WRONG.
AND THAT -- THAT WAS A LESSON I
LEARNED THROUGH THAT CASE.
>> HE WAS NOT -- YOU AND I KNOW
THE DEFINITION OF CRIMINAL
INSANITY, AND HE WAS NOT THERE.
YOU AND I WOULD LOOK AT ANYBODY
WHO TOOK LIVES LIKE THAT AND SAY
HE'S CRAZY, BUT HE WAS NOT
CRIMINALLY INSANE.
THAT WOULD HAVE IN SOME WAYS
RESULTED IN A NOT GUILTY BY
REASON OF INSANITY DECISION FOR
HIM, YES.
>> NO.
EXACTLY.
BUT THAT WAS A LESSON I LEARNED
WITH THAT CASE BECAUSE WHEN I
WALKED OUT OF THAT ROOM THAT
NIGHT, I SAID, HE'S GOING TO
MENTAL HOSPITAL.
I REALIZED LATER THAT -- NUMBER
ONE, HE WAS PLEATING GUILTY.
HE -- WAS PLEADING GUILTY.
HE DIDN'T WANT A TRIAL.
>> FROM THE BEGINNING SHEHE SAI
LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I DID, I
WANT TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY?
>> YEAH -- IF ACCEPT THE
RESPONSIBILITY WAS THE PROPER
TERM.
BUT HE WAS -- HE WAS -- WANTED
TO GET THE CREDIT FOR WHAT HE
HAD DONE.
>> BILL CLARK, FORMER NYPD
DETECTIVE.
A FASCINATING LOOK INSIDE THE
DETAILS OF THE MURDER SPREE AND
THE ARREST OF DAVID BERKOWITZ.
THANKS FOR SPENDING TIME WITH
US.
WE REALLY APPRECIATE IT.
>> THANK YOU, SIR.
HAVE A GREAT DAY.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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