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'Son of Sam' decries violence, 'regrets' past

3:29 PM, Aug 10, 2012   |    comments
'Son of Sam' David Berkowitzon the cover of the 'New York Daily News.' (Daily News)
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By Douglas Stanglin, USA TODAY

David Berkowitz, the notorious "Son of Sam" serial killer who terrified New York City in 1977, tells the New York Daily News from his prison cell that he regrets his violent past and says society needs to take the "glory out of guns."

Berkowitz, who shot 13 people in cold blood, killing six, in a 13-month shooting spree, spoke to Daily News writer Tanyanika Samuels in an exclusive interview.

"It's all senseless," says Berkowitz, who is serving six 25-years-to-life sentences at the maximum-security Sullivan County correctional facility in Upstate New York.

Now 59, Berkowitz no longer has his "devilish smirk" that riveted readers after his arrest in 1977.

He also says he rejects violence, lamenting the recent shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin.

"Society has to take the glory out of guns," he tells the newspaper. "Young people have no business carrying a gun. I would love to speak bluntly to those gangbanging teens and wanna-bes and tell them prison is nothing like what you think. If you're packing a gun, you're making a big mistake, and you'll regret it."

"I think it's a big tragedy when I see young men with their macho faces like they're cool when I know they are really scared to death," he says. "I know because I've been there."

Berkowitz says he doesn't like to talk about the "dark days" when his shootings were splashed on the front of New York tabloids.

"It's too painful," Berkowitz tells the paper. "I continue to pray for the victims of my crimes. I do wish them the best in life. But I'm sure the pain will never end for them. I regret that."

Looking back, Berkowitz says those years were a time in his life when he was "lost," "tormented" and "confused" and that he was heavily into the occult.

"I have regrets more than words can say," he tells the reporter. "I have regrets about all the people I hurt, about what my life would have been like. I've missed out on a lot. But God has given me peace about my situation."

USA TODAY

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