Ronald Joseph "Butch" DeFeo, Jr. (born September 26, 1951) is an American murderer. He was tried and convicted for the 1974 killings of his father, mother, two brothers and two sisters. The case is notable for being the real life inspiration behind the book and film versions of The Amityville Horror.
At around 6:30 PM on Wednesday, November 13, 1974, 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo, Jr. burst into Henry's Bar in Amityville, Long Island, New York and declared: "You got to help me! I think my mother and father are shot!" DeFeo and a small group of people went to 112 Ocean Avenue, which was located not far from the bar, and found that DeFeo's parents were indeed dead. One of the group, Joe Yeswit, made an emergency call to the Suffolk County Police, who searched the house and found that six members of the same family were dead in their beds.
The victims were car dealer Ronald DeFeo, Sr. (43), Louise DeFeo (42), and four of their children: Dawn (18); Allison (13); Marc (12); and John Matthew. All of the victims had been shot with a 35 caliber lever action Marlin 336C rifle at around three o'clock in the morning of that day. DeFeo's parents had both been shot twice, while the children had all been killed with single shots. Louise DeFeo and her daughter Allison were reportedly the only victims who were awakened by the gunfire at the time of their deaths, but according to Suffolk County Police the victims were all found lying on their stomachs in bed. The DeFeo family had occupied 112 Ocean Avenue since purchasing it in 1965. The murdered members of the DeFeo family are buried in nearby Saint Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.
Ronald DeFeo, Jr. was the eldest son of the family, and was also known as "Butch". He was taken to the local police station for his own protection after suggesting to police officers at the scene of the crime that the killings had been carried out by a mob hit man named Louis Falini. However, an interview with DeFeo at the station soon exposed serious inconsistencies in his version of events, and the following day he confessed to carrying out the killings himself. He told detectives: "Once I started, I just couldn’t stop. It went so fast." DeFeo admitted that he had taken a bath, redressed, and discarded crucial evidence like blood-stained clothes, the Marlin rifle and cartridges on his way to work as usual.
George and Kathleen Lutz:
112 Ocean Avenue remained empty for thirteen months after the DeFeo murders. In December 1975, George and Kathleen Lutz bought the house for what was considered to be a bargain price of $80,000. The six-bedroom house was built in Dutch Colonial style, and had a distinctive gambrel roof. It also had a swimming pool and a boathouse, as it was located on a canal. George and Kathy married in July 1975 and each had their own homes, but they wanted to start afresh with a new property.
Kathy had three children from a previous marriage, Daniel, 9, Christopher, 7, and Melissa (Missy), 5. They also owned a crossbreed Malamute/Labrador dog named Harry. During their first inspection of the house, the real estate broker told them about the DeFeo murders of the previous November, and asked if this changed their opinion about wanting to buy it. After discussing the matter, they decided that it was not an issue.
At first, George and Kathy Lutz experienced nothing unusual in the house. Talking about their experiences subsequently, they reported that it was as if they "were each living in a different house." But after 28 days, the Lutzes left the house, claiming to have been terrorized by paranormal phenomena while living there.
Was the house really haunted/possessed? or did the Lutz family make the whole thing up?
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The Amityville Horror Ronald DeFeo, Jr.
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