“by his stripes, we are healed”
In 1976-77, David Berkowitz terrorized New York with his killing spree, murdering six people and wounding seven others with a .44-caliber handgun, usually as they sat in cars. Berkowitz was dubbed the “Son of Sam” by the media, after a note left at a crime scene read: “I am a monster. I am the Son of Sam.” After intense manhunts, he was arrested in 1977.
New York legislators later passed the “Son of Sam” law, barring criminals from profiting from their crimes by selling their stories to publishers.
Berkowitz was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to six sentences of 25 years to life at the Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, N.Y., where he has been incarcerated for 34 years.
Berkowitz, now 58, had been denied parole 5 times. This summer, he told FoxNews he will not seek parole during his next opportunity in May.
Joshua Rhett Miller reports, August 24, 2011, that in a two-page letter to FoxNews.com, Berkowitz said he has “no interest” in parole thanks to forgiveness by Jesus Christ. “I have no interest in parole and no plans to seek release,” Berkowitz wrote in an Aug. 6 letter. “If you could understand this, I am already a ‘free man.’ I am not saying this jokingly. I really am. Jesus Christ has already forgiven and pardoned me, and I believe this.”
Carole Weaver, a spokeswoman for the New York State Division of Parole, said Berkowitz has been a model inmate with just one minor infraction on his disciplinary record from 2004. She said Berkowitz’s eschewal of seeking parole is “unusual” among inmates: “Not many people who are incarcerated don’t want to get out.”
Berkowitz told FoxNews.com he has been housed in the prison’s general population for about 23 years and he currently works as a “mobility guide” for legally blind inmates, as an “inmate program” assistant for mentally challenged prisoners, and in the prison’s chapel:
“I also help out in the facility’s chapel, where I assist in overseeing our Sunday services plus other services and Bible studies. My main activities are sharing my story of redemption and hope with those on the outside, as well as writing a monthly journal which can be viewed at Ariseandshine.org.”
Berkowitz said he reads the Bible daily, has no problems with other inmates, and has “made the best” of his time behind bars, thanks in part to his devotion to Jesus Christ: “He has given me a whole new life, which I do not deserve. And while society will never forgive me, God has. I am forever grateful for such forgiveness, too.”
He also told FoxNews.com he has “deep regret and sorrow over my past criminal actions. I would do anything if I could go back and change things [to] have prevented the tragedy from happening.”
In his letter, St. Paul reminds us we are not our own, “for you have been purchased at a price” (1 Cor. 6:20).
Given the infinite mercy and grace of God, even the most evil can repent and find redemption.
In the end, the only unforgivable sin is the stubborn refusal to be penitent, presuming that a creature’s sin can actually exceed the Creator’s infinite capacity to forgive.