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Ronald "Butch" DeFeo, Jr.
Butch DeFeo was the oldest of four children born to Ronald and Louise DeFeo, a successful car salesman and his wife. Ronald also served as a domineering authority figure, and engaged in hot-tempered fights with his wife and children. The most frequent target of abuse was their eldest child, Butch, of whom much was expected. It only got worse at school, where the overweight and brooding boy was the victim of relentless taunting from his classmates.
As Butch matured, he began lashing out physically against his father, as well as his few friends. His concerned family took him to a psychiatrist, but the visits didn’t sit well with Butch, who denied that he needed help.
By the age of 17, Butch had become an LSD
and heroin user, and was expelled from school for his violent outbursts.
At the age of 18, Butch received a prized position at his grandfather’s car dealership, with little to no expectations. He also earned a weekly stipend from his father, regardless of his attendance or job performance at work. Butch funneled this salary into his new car, as well as guns, alcohol and drugs.
Butch DeFeo’s strange behavior seemed only to increase with time. He threatened a friend with a rifle during a hunting trip then, later that day, acted as if nothing happened. He also attempted to shoot his father with a 12-guage shotgun during a fight between his parents.
In 1974, Butch, feeling irritated by what he believed a meager salary, plotted methods for embezzling money from the car dealership. In late October, the dealership entrusted DeFeo with the responsibility of depositing more than $20,000 to the bank. Butch planned a mock robbery with a friend, agreeing to split the money evenly with his accomplice. The plan went off without a hitch until police came to the dealership to question DeFeo. Instead of calmly answering the officers’ questions, Butch exploded into rage. When police, suspicious that Butch was lying, asked him to come in to the station to check out mug shots of possible suspects, he refused to comply. Robert, Sr. began to suspect that his son had committed the robbery. But when
he questioned his son about his lack of cooperation with police, Butch threatened to kill his father.
On the night of November 14, 1974, Butch DeFeo acted on his threat. Using a .35-caliber Marlin rifle from his secret gun stash, he entered his parents’ bedroom and shot them both while they slept. He then entered his brothers’ bedroom, shooting them both in their beds. He ended by shooting his sisters, point-blank, in their bedrooms. All the
murders took place within 15 minutes. Butch then showered, dressed for work, and collected his bloody clothing and the murder weapon in a pillowcase. He dumped the evidence in a storm drain on the way to work at the dealership at 6 AM.
Upon arriving to work, Butch called home, pretending not to know why his father hadn’t shown up for work. Saying he was bored around noon, he left work and spent the day with friends. He attempted to secure an alibi by telling each of the people he visited that he couldn’t seem to reach anyone at home. At 6 PM, he called a friend in mock surprise, saying that someone had broken into the house and shot his family.
112 Ocean Avenue
This house will be no stranger to people who love horror movies. It is the house on which the film The Amityville Horror is based. The house is a six-bedroom Dutch Colonial style house built in 1924. The best known feature of the house was, at one time, its pair of quarter circle shaped windows on the third floor attic level, which gave it an eerie, eye-like appearance. These windows have since been removed and the house renumbered to keep tourists away. On November 13, 1974, 23-year old Ronald DeFeo, Jr. fatally shot six members of his family at the house. During his murder trial in 1975, he claimed that voices in his head had urged him to carry out the killings. He was found guilty and is still in jail in New York. In December 1975, George Lutz and his wife, Kathy, purchased the house and moved in with their three children. After 28 days they left the house, claiming to have been tormented by paranormal phenomena while living there. The family experienced foul smells, faces at the windows, screams, moving objects, and all manner of bizarre phenomena.