Could the notorious Son of Sam killer be released from prison this summer? David Berkowitz is up for parole again in May 2020, but most serial murderers end up behind bars for life. Here’s what happened to three of the most notorious and sadistic murderers in history after they were sentenced.
One of the most prolific serial killers in history, Gary Ridgway murdered at least 49 people. Experts believe that number might be much higher, with as many as 90 total victims. Ridgway dumped the bodies of the prostitutes and other vulnerable people he preyed upon in Washington state forests. His nickname comes from the location where the first five bodies were found.
Ridgway wasn’t apprehended until 2001. At that point, he’d been raping and murdering women (not necessarily in that order) for two decades. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. For the first 11 years of his sentence, Ridgway was in solitary confinement at the Washington State Penitentiary. He was briefly transferred to a facility in Colorado before being returned to Washington. The Green River Killer is currently 71 years old. He was married three times and has one child, a son named Matthew.
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Dennis Rader, better known as BTK for the bind-torture-kill method he used on his 10 confirmed victims, is currently serving consecutive life sentences in Kansas.
Rader was well-liked in his community and maintained a seemingly happy family life with his wife and two children. But even as a child, he was obsessed with torture, bondage, murder, and cross-dressing. His first victims were four members of the Otero family, whom he killed in 1974. He taunted the media with his crimes and even gave himself the nickname BTK.
Rader was finally caught in 2005 and sentenced to 10 consecutive life sentences. His wife was granted an emergency divorce that same year. BTK is now 75 years old.
David Berkowitz terrorized New York City beginning in the summer of 1976. He killed half a dozen people in shooting attacks and wounded seven more, all while playing a game of cat-and-mouse with the NYPD.
The so-called Son of Sam’s letters to the police heightened the sense of terror caused by the killing spree. At last, Berkowitz was caught in August of 1977. He claimed to have been acting on the orders of a demon who appeared in the form of a dog named Sam. Later, he confessed that it was a hoax, but the name “Son of Sam” stuck.
Berkowitz was sentenced to consecutive life sentences for each victim. After psychological observation, he was declared fit enough to serve his time at Attica prison. Later, he was moved to other correctional facilities. He was first eligible for parole in 2002 but asked not to be released. However, in recent years Berkowitz has claimed to be reformed. His parole has been consistently denied, but he is up again for potential release in May 2020. He is currently 66 years old.