Serial Killer vs Deranged Psycopath

The main difference between the Son of Sam and John W. Gacy

Richard David Berkowitz "Son of Sam"

  • Born Richard David Falco, birth mother put him up for adoption
  • Described as being a loner as a child, antisocial much like his adoptive parents that lived in a middle class home in the Bronx, NY
  • Large unatrractive figure made him undesirable for the opposite sex
  • Had deep sense of guilt for his belief of his mother dying while birthing him
  • Pearl Berkowitz, his adoptive mother died of breast cancer in 1967
  • His father shortly remarried and his new mother did'nt get along with Richard
  • Newly wed couple relocated to Florida, leaving 18 y/o Berkowitz behind
  • These events enraged him and drove him deeper into isolation and depression in which Berkowitz began to develop negative feelings towards women
  • Had his only sexual experience during this time, when he caught a veneral disease from a Yonkers prostitute
  • The "Son of Sam's" attacks began on christmas eve 1975, after Berkowitz was ordered by a demon in the form of his neighbors dog to "go out and kill"
  • Killing spree ended in 1976 when Berkowitz was arrested and later sentenced to 365 years for the killing of 6 women and attempted murder of 7 more

John Wayne Gacy

  • Born in Chicago in 1942
  • Lived in a troubled home with his mother, two sisters, and a violent, alcoholic father
  • Father spent large amounts of time in the basement talking to himself, and often severely beat his family
  • Gacy was a large child and suffered from common fainting and had a defective heart
  • Believed his father could hear his impure thoughts
  • Ran away from home at age 20 to live with his prostitute cousin in Las Vegas
  • Moved back to Illinois and was first arrested in 1968 for sodomy, only to have the charges dropped
  • Wife divorced him,Gacy remarried and this wife wanted a divorce by 1976
  • At this time, Gacy began appearing at childrens hospitals and parties as "Pogo The Clown"
  • Gacy was convicted of the murders of 33 young men and boys in 1980
  • It was revealed he would lure them to his home with candy or drugs, attempt sexual relations with them, and later strangle them to death
  • Sentenced to death, spent 14 years on death row, executed on May 10, 1994
After evaluating these two notorious serial killers' profiles, one can see that are a number of key similarities. Both had relatively tough childhoods, operated in the same era of the 70's, used their crimes as a mean to please their twisted sexual desires, and they both targeted a specific gender to prey upon. However, after having so much in common, one striking difference between John Wayne Gacy and Richard Berkowitz is their demeanor after being trialed and committed for their vicious crimes. after being on death row for 14 years before his execution and countless interrogations, one thing became clear to law enforcement: John Wayne Gacy was a complete and utter psycopath. It was evident that he showed no remorse or regret for his sinister deeds. He was known to often make raunchy, inappropriate jokes while being questioned. In addition, his lawyers noted that he was truly convinced that he had done no wrong and that he hadn't committed the crimes he was accused. his cynicism and distorted belief of his own innocence were present until his final moments, as his last words were "kiss my a**". In stark contrast to Gacy, the Son of Sam wasn't convicted to death, and spent the first few years of his 365 year sentence in despair and self hate, even attempting to commit suicide. However, a few years into his sentence, Berkowitz said he felt an emotion that swept him off his feet. The Son of Sam had begun to read the Bible, became a born-again Christian, and felt "the grace of god" bringing him in and giving him a new outlook on life. Berkowitz himself confesses that he feels that "the scars of the past are always going to remain and haunt me, but I've given my life to Jesus Christ. And he has let me know in his word that he has forgiven me completely. All my sins are washed away". In addition, prison officials state the Berkowitz is very well behaved and organizes bible studies for inmates in similar positions as he was, and overall is an exemplary inmate with a renewed sense of appreciation for the grace of god. After evaluating the difference in outcomes of the two serial killers, it is safe to say the reason Gacy conducted himself as he did was that he was a sadistic, psychopathic, freak with no sense of morality while Berkowitz was just a serial killer that was consumed by voices of demons and pacts with Satan but had enough integrity to recognize his wrongdoings and plea for forgiveness.