Judge orders prison interview for ‘Son of Sam’ as prep for case

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NEW YORK (AP) – A Manhattan judge Wednesday ordered “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz and his former lawyer to answer questions under oath in preparation for a trial to settle their dispute over property that belonged to Berkowitz.

State Supreme Court Justice Sherry Klein Heitler ordered Berkowitz to give the sworn deposition July 25 at the Sullivan County Correctional Facility, where he is imprisoned, in upstate Fallsburg, N.Y.

The judge directed Berkowitz’s former lawyer, Hugo Harmatz, to give a deposition on July 17 at the state Supreme Court building in Manhattan.

Heitler’s order denied a request by Berkowitz’s current lawyer, Michael D. Heller, to have the serial killer brought to Manhattan for the deposition. If the case goes to trial, Berkowitz would very likely have to appear in court.

Berkowitz, serving six sentences of 25 years to life for killing six people and wounding seven in 1976-77, is suing Harmatz for the return of numerous items he gave the lawyer for safekeeping and for what he said was an anticrime youth project.

Berkowitz sued in June 2005 after he learned that Harmatz was using the materials, which include letters, court documents, family photos and other property, to produce a self-published book entitled “Dear David …”

Harper Fertig, a lawyer for Harmatz, told the judge Monday that lawyers for the parties were having settlement negotiations and she was hopeful that an agreement could be reached soon. She said Harmatz had agreed to return Berkowitz’s property.

But Heller told the court that his client wanted Harmatz to stop promoting the book and to give up all the money he has made from selling it.

Heller said his client, who was born Jewish but says he became a devout Christian in prison, objected to the people he victimized being further exploited by Harmatz.

Heller said Berkowitz wants the money to go to the state Crime Victims Board to be distributed to his victims and their families.

Harmatz, who practices criminal law in northern New Jersey, has said he was clear with Berkowitz about his intentions regarding the borrowed property.

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