Amid the myriad of profilers drawn by the media into the Washington, D.C.-area sniper
story, Fox News Channel offered an inside look into the mind of a serial killer
Fox News senior Washington correspondent Rita Cosby, who had a brief
correspondence with Oklahoma City bomber Tim McVeigh from Death Row in 2001,
wrote "Son of Sam" serial killer David Berkowitz in prison for his comments on
the sniper attacks and read from Berkowitz's three-page response on the air
Cosby reportedly appealed to Berkowitz as a Christian and one who had
experienced spiritual growth since his murder spree to serve the Lord and his
people through his insights. She told Berkowitz he had "a testimony that must be
heard," and "our world is crying and you can help."
Although Berkowitz, imprisoned at Sullivan Correctional Facility, thanked
Cosby for "the kind things" in her letter, Cosby told The Washington Post
she had hardly praised Berkowitz, but merely offered him the opportunity to do
In his letter to Cosby, Berkowitz said he understood the Washington sniper's
rage toward law enforcement, but he said the killer "must stop hurting
people." The confessed serial killer said his "heart is heavy over the loss of
innocent lives" and his life has become very difficult since the
Washington-area shootings began. Berkowitz said the events brought back for him
"the nightmare . the ugliness and horror" of his own acts. Berkowitz confessed
to the shootings, which, he said, he was ordered to perform by his neighbor's dog.
Berkowitz said he does not put much value into the observations of
professional profilers, but he offered that he could feel the sniper's "anger and
rage toward law enforcement," which he said may extend to the U.S. government in
Although he told Cosby, "I really don't know how much help I can be,"
Berkowitz did wonder if the killer is tapping into Thomas Harris' fictional
character, Hannibal Lechter -- "a killer who is always trying to outsmart the
FBI." Berkowitz noted the coincidence of the opening of the latest film about
Lechter, Red Dragon.
Ironically, in two of three of Harris' books and three of the four films that
feature the Lechter character, Lechter is an imprisoned serial killer contacted
-- by law enforcement, not the media -- for his perceptions on an active serial