In the mid-70s, New York City was terrorized by the “.44 Caliber Killer,” who went on a rampage killing six people by the time he was captured. But it took a little over a year until he was arrested and during that time, the police were under tremendous pressure to solve the case. The public was scared for their safety, and people refrained from going out at night. It was during one of these shootings that the .44 Caliber Killer left a note for one of the detectives working on the case at the time, Joseph R. Borrelli. In it, the killer referred to himself as the “Son of Sam.”
Netflix’s ‘The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness’ is a documentary series that looks at the killings and the claims made by the Son of Sam, David Berkowitz, regarding the involvement of the members of a satanic cult in the murders. David was arrested in August 1977, and Joseph Borrelli was instrumental in making that happen. Curious to know where he is now? Here’s everything we know!
Who is Joseph Borrelli?
Joseph Borrelli was born in Brooklyn, New York. He joined the New York Police Department in 1957 and had moved to Lynbrook, New York, in 1962. At the time, he had been married to Frances Borrelli, and together they had four daughters: Laura, Roselle, Alyson, and Jennifer. He was a police captain and the head of the Homicide Detective Squad in the Queens borough of New York City. By April 1977, the killer had already attacked and killed multiple people, and the residents of New York were rightly frightened.
There was a lack of faith in the police force with respect to solving the case. It was also in April 1977 that the killer would give the police a solid lead. At the scene of the shooting of Valentina Suriani and Alexander Esau on April 17, the killer had left a letter that was addressed to Joseph Borrelli. In it, the killer called himself the Son of Sam and detailed why he killed. He talked about being hurt at being called a woman-hater.
In a letter riddled with spelling mistakes, the killer also stated that he didn’t want to kill anymore but had to “honor” his father. The letter, while revealing, was also considered a threat against Joseph. There was a protective detail set outside his house. But he felt that the letter was more a mistake made by the killer and a clue for them to catch him, rather than a threat. Joseph oversaw the task force that investigated the killings until it was turned over to another detective. But his tremendous knowledge of the case meant he stayed on as an executive officer.
The hard work paid off in just a few months when David Berkowitz was arrested and later confessed to being the Son of Sam. The police found a .44 caliber gun that was discerned to be the one used in the shootings. There was a letter in his glove compartment as well, with handwriting that matched the previous letter. After a major win for the police, Mayor Abraham Beame had bought the officers in the precinct drinks for that night. The then 24-year-old David was convicted of the six murders and was sentenced to life in prison.
Where is Joseph Borrelli Now?
Joseph Borrelli retired from the force in 1996. While David would later take up Christianity and go on to make sensational claims about him not being the lone gunman, Joseph never believed that. “He has to maintain his celebrity,” Borrelli said. “What’s he got? He’s going to die in jail, so I guess he enjoys people still thinking of him. I don’t believe one word that he’s a born-again Christian.” Sadly, Joseph’s wife passed away in 2019. If reports are to be believed, Joseph, now in his 80s, seems to be living in Greenport, New York, enjoying retirement.
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