Mother of first Son of Sam victim still devastated after 40 years

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Mother of Son of Sam's First Victim Shares Anguish on 40th Anniversary of Murder

Forty years after her daughter Donna was murdered by the Son of Sam killer, 82-year-old Rose Lauria still vividly remembers the tragedy.

"Forty years. It feels like it happened yesterday," Rose told WPIX in an interview. "I've been crying all week, on and off."

SEE MORE: Man kills girlfriend's disabled son

On July 29, 1976, Donna and her friend Jody returned home at 1am after spending the night at the disco. They were sitting in a car when four bullets were fired into the passenger seat. Donna, 18, was killed.

This was the first murder of the infamous "Son of Sam" killer, who killed six and injured seven people between 1976 and 1977.

The serial killer, eventually identified as David Berkowitz, would send letters to the newspaper to taunt the police, and called himself the "Son of Sam." His reign of terror ended when he left his yellow Ford Galaxy next to a fire hydrant at the scene of his final murder on July 30, 1977. He received a ticket, which led detectives to his home 10 days later, where they made the arrest.

RELATED: 10 serial killers who were never caught

10 serial killers who were never caught
See Gallery
10 serial killers who were never caught

West Mesa Bone Collector: The city of Albuquerque was shaken in 2009 when the bones of 11 women were found in shallow graves in the desert. No suspect has ever been identified, despite FBI and local police investigations. 

(AP Photo/Sergio Salvador)

The Cleveland Torso Murders: Upwards of a dozen victims of "the mad butcher of Kingsbury run" were always found between 1935 and 1938. This photo shows the investigation into a burned boxcar in which three bodies were found. 

(AP Photo/Bill Allen)

The Texarkana Moonlight Murderer: The killer, who was never identified, is credited with terrorizing the town of Texarkana, Texas in 1946 by attacking eight people in ten weeks, creating panic.
The Zodiac Killer: Here are three victims of the self-proclaimed "Zodiac" killer, who's connected to at least 5 murders in Northern California in the 1960s and 1970s, which he bragged about to the police, without ever being caught. 

The Monster of Florence: This killer linked to the murders of seven couples which were targeted after being found engaged in sexual acts in cars in the Italian city. Pictured here are Pia Rontini and Claudio Stefanacci, both shot to death in the seventh such double murder in the Florence area since 1968. The killer was known to mutilate the women.

(AP Photo)

Béla Kiss, the Vampire of Czinkota: This accused Hungarian serial killer is believed to have murdered at least two dozen women and kept their bodies in giant metal drums. He eluded police for years.

(Getty Images)

The Witch Doctor: Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, known as "El Padrino" or "Godfather," is shown in this undated photo. Constanzo is the ring leader of a satanic cult that has killed at least 12 victims at a ranch near Matamoros, Mexico.

(AP Photo)

The Alphabet Murders: 10-year-old Carmen Colon, pictured here, is one of three girls believed to have been killed in the "double initial" killings in 1971 in Rochester, N.Y. The three girls killed all had first and last names that started with the same letter.

(AP Photo)

The Servant Girl Murders: Three years before Jack the Ripper began his deadly attacks across the ocean, a killer preyed upon the city of Austin, Texas in the 1880s. He would attack men and women in their beds, although not all of his victims died. According to reports more than 400 men were arrested over the years for the crimes, but no one was ever convicted.

(RapidEye via Getty Images)


Berkowitz, then 25 years old, had weapons in the trunk of his car; it was suspected he planned to continue his killing spree. He claimed that Sam was his neighbor, and that Sam's dog was telling him to kill people.

Berkowitz is now 64 and seeking parole, saying he found God in prison. Rose and her husband, Michael, call the parole office often to assure that he does not get freed.

Despite all the time that has passed, Rose still feels anguish from the death of her daughter. "I'm a changed person," she said. "There's not a day that goes by she's not on my mind."

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners