NEW YORK – Son of Sam serial killer David Berkowitz says the proceeds from his former attorney's book about him should be given to his victims and family members of those he shot during a 1970s killing spree.
Berkowitz sued Hugo Harmatz in 2005, arguing the attorney's earnings from "Dear David" violate the spirit of New York's Son of Sam law, which bars criminals from profiting from their crimes by selling their stories to publishers.
A court hearing to set a trial date was scheduled for Monday in Manhattan.
Berkowitz, who killed six people and wounded seven in 1976-77, sued Harmatz in June 2005 to get back letters, court documents, family photos and other items he says he gave to the lawyer for safekeeping. He said he sued after learning the lawyer planned to use the items for his book.
Berkowitz's current lawyer, Michael D. Heller, said his client would not withdraw the suit unless Harmatz agreed to return Berkowitz's possessions and turn over any money he makes from "exploiting" them to Berkowitz's surviving victims and the families of the ones he killed.
"He has turned his life around and is very much concerned about the well-being of his victims," Heller said.
Messages left for Harmatz were not immediately returned Sunday. He has said that when he first contacted Berkowitz he was clear about his intentions. His book includes letters written by a variety of people to Berkowitz, transcripts from the killer's parole hearings and crime scene photos.
A picture of Berkowitz with his arm around the shoulder of a smiling Harmatz is on the book's cover.
Berkowitz got his nickname from a note left at a crime scene that read: "I am a monster. I am the Son of Sam." He shot his victims, usually while they sat in cars, and was arrested in 1977. He is serving six sentences of 25 years to life at the Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, N.Y.
The Son of Sam law was passed in 1977 after reports that Berkowitz was poised to earn a windfall for his story.