On August 10, 1977, Son of Sam murderer David Berkowitz was taken into custody by the NYPD.
New York City — on the verge of bankruptcy and reeling from a blackout and the reign of terror created by this murderous madman — breathed a sigh of relief: They got their guy.
But the Son of Sam slayer — who shot and killed six people and critically wounded seven others — continued to haunt investigative reporter Maury Terry.
The IBM employee-turned-scribe believed that Berkowitz, a chubby 24-year-old postal worker, did not act alone and was part of a sinister satanic network with tentacles as far-reaching as Charles Manson. Terry’s quest to stand up his theory ultimately led to an obsession that overtook his personal life.
“We used to say Maury was the last victim — and that’s totally true,” filmmaker Josh Zeman told The Post.
In his new Netflix docuseries “The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness,” Zeman delves into the murder and mayhem, including Terry’s dogged reporting and subsequent crusade that led to pushback from the NYPD, which tried to brand him a crazy conspiracy theorist.
In the film, Terry’s ex-wife Georgiana Byrne reveals details about their unorthodox, somewhat macabre courtship.
On their first date, which fell on the first anniversary of the Son of Sam murders of Valentina Suriana and Alexander Esau in The Bronx, Terry took Byrne to the scene of the shootings, and they shared a kiss.
“He was fascinated with the Son of Sam case. I listened to him. And I believed him,” Byrne says in the film of her late ex-husband. The pair would later split, because he was more devoted to his mistress: the notorious serial-killer case.
Terry dug deep for his 1988 book “The Ultimate Evil,” noting that police did not even question John and Michael Carr, Berkowitz’s neighbors and sons of Sam Carr, the owner of the dog Berkowitz claimed instructed him to kill.
Both brothers later died in mysterious circumstances. Terry believed the Carr brothers and Berkowitz belonged to “The Children,” a satanic cult based in Yonkers thought to be affiliated with the Process Church of the Final Judgement, which allegedly had ties to former Scientologists and Manson. Although Terry spun a web that became almost fantastical, Zeman believed there was some truth to his reporting.
“I believe the Carr brothers were involved, and there were a bunch of crazy kids and people who used the devil as a brilliant excuse to engage in bad behavior,” said Zeman. “When we start talking about networks, that’s when I become far more skeptical.”
Still, Zeman added, “I think Maury Terry did some unbelievable work when it came to David Berkowitz not acting alone … and fighting against the established narrative and these bogeyman mythologies, like the idea that a demon dog told him to kill.”
Zeman first met Terry while making “Cropsey,” a 2009 documentary about missing kids in Staten Island, which spawned rumors of satanism and links to the Son of Sam. Zeman first dismissed the ideas as “satanic panic” leftover from the 1980s.
“That’s when a bunch of journalists and NYPD sat me down and said, ‘Let me tell you a story. There is some truth to this, and there are quite a few NYPD detectives who will tell you off the record they believe Berkowitz did not act alone,’ ” recalled Zeman.
He became friends with Terry and the pair would discuss legendary New York City crimes over lunch at Terry’s Yonkers apartment, including, of course, his work on the notorious serial killings. Terry died in 2015 at age 69.
In 1981, after Terry’s reporting was featured on a news magazine show, Berkowitz sent him a letter: “The public will never ever truly believe you, no matter how well your evidence is presented.”
Terry became so obsessed he even assembled a crew of former cops to lead his own investigation. Ignored by the establishment, he appeared on numerous tabloid shows, which Zeman thinks damaged his credibility.
In the end, he sees Terry’s story as “a cautionary tale” for true-crime buffs.
“You have all of these people who are so obsessed and the internet has allowed them to be Maury Terry,” said Zeman. “Be careful about going down that rabbit hole, because you have to make sure you can get out.”