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Exhibition Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustration

Joseph Papin. [David Berkowitz screams obscenities as guards struggle to drag him from courtroom], May 22, 1978. Porous point pen, blue ink, and opaque white on gray paper. Published on front cover of New York Daily News, May 23, 1978. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (027.00.00)
Gift of Jane Papin

Son of Sam Breaks Down in Courtroom

David Berkowitz had terrorized New York City for a year, killing and injuring young couples out late at night and sending letters from the "Son of Sam" to New York Daily News columnist Jimmy Breslin before he was captured. Appearing in court on May 22, 1978, for sentencing, Berkowitz exploded in the courtroom, shouting, "I'll kill them all," as guards escorted him out. The judge delayed his sentencing until June 12, when he was much calmer. Rather than face a jury trial, Berkowitz pled guilty. Joseph Papin's drawing, which captured the criminal's anguished mental breakdown so vividly, appeared on the cover of the New York Daily News.