Amityville | The DeFeo Murders | True Crime

(The Amityville house as it was. Picture credit: newsday.com)

I've always been fascinated with Amityville, not just because of the horror movies but the house itself has always intrigued me. It has a very haunting and unusual look about it especially with those two top windows, like eyes that look even more creepy when lit up at night. Obviously these windows have now been changed and the various owners who have since lived in the house have tried to change the look a little bit. It still doesn't stop thousands of horror fans making the journey every year to get a selfie next to the famous house, I've even read that previous owners have had psychics and paranormal investigators turn up on their doorstep as well as people trying to get into the house or steal patches of grass off of the lawn as souvenirs. 

When I first saw the Amityville movie which was many years ago, I had no idea that it was an actual house, I thought it was made up on a movie set like the Psycho Motel. Even creepier was when I found out that not only was the house real but there was a dark, horrific story behind it in which a family met their end. 

Amityville has had so many books, documentaries and movies made about it (there's a new movie coming out in 2020) that I couldn't possibly add anything new but what I hope to do in this post is share with you the real story that started all of what has become the legend of Amityville. 

Before I start, I just want to remind you that all of my weekly personal posts are now on my Kofi page as well as my updates and if you enjoy my posts, please consider buying me a coffee.

So here goes...

To those who may not know, Amityville is an actual place, it's a village in Babylon in New York. It's a beautiful town with a lot of affluent residents and it's very picturesque, the sort of place you would want to raise your kids in or retire too. Ronald DeFeo Sr must have thought the same because after starting a job working for his father in law's Buick dealership company (as a service manager and coming into some money) he moved his family to the beautiful and unusual house on 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville. 

Together with his wife Louise, sons, John, Marc, Ronald Jr and daughters, Dawn and Allison, it seemed that they had the perfect family and now had the perfect home to match but behind closed doors, all was not as it seemed. Ronald Sr would often raise his temper and the children were frightened of him, he would also be violent towards Louise. Ronald Jr who was the eldest of the children (born on the 26th of September 1951 in Brooklyn, New York) and also went by the name ''Butch'', he was always very rebellious and would cause his parents problems. He seemed to be spoilt and out of control, he was always involved in fights at school and the other kids felt nervous around him. He also attacked his grandfather when he was just 13 years old and was sent to a psychiatrist but it didn't seem to help matters. Ronald Jr left school without any qualifications and dabbled in drugs and petty crime. He would always rely on handouts from his father because he couldn't hold down a job and he would blow all of his money on drugs, women and alcohol.

Ronald Jr was a ticking timebomb and as he got older there were no signs that he was going to slow down, the year before events took a more horrific turn, he had tried to fire a gun at his father. 

A year after the incident with the gun (his father was luckily unharmed), Ronald Jr (who was 23 at the time) was at a bar near to his family home on the 13th of November 1974. He'd been there drinking for most of the day, he'd driven to the Buick dealership in Brooklyn earlier that day (as he'd been given a job there as a way to help straighten himself out) but it was quiet so he just drove back to Amityville and went to the local bar. Around 6pm he left for about 15 minutes before returning and shouting to the customers ''YOU GOT TO HELP ME! I THINK MY MOTHER AND FATHER ARE SHOT!'' 

(Ronald Jr with his father, Ronald Snr. Picture credit: theunredacted.com


(A painting of Louise DeFeo. Picture credit: imdb.com

Nobody knew if this was a joke or if he was just shouting random stuff because he was drunk but a group got together and went with him to the house. Sure enough, Ronald Jr's parents were found in their bedroom shot dead. His two brothers (John who was 7 and Marc who was 12) were found shot dead in their beds and sisters Allison (who was 13) and Dawn (who was 18) were also found dead. The police were called and what nobody knew at that time was that Ronald Jr himself had committed the killings around 3am that morning. He took a .35 Marlin rifle and shot his parents twice in the head as they slept, he then shot his two brothers and his sister Allison once in the head. Dawn was allegedly in a room in the attic and came to see what all of the noise was and it was there that he shot her too. The police claimed that there was evidence that, like Dawn, Allison was awake when she was shot.

After the murders had been discovered by the police, Ronald Jr was taken into custody for his own protection, At that point they believed a story that Ronald Jr had given them about a business deal that had gone wrong and the possibility that a notorious mafia hitman had carried out the murders as an act of revenge for falling out with his father. I think the police took him at his word in the beginning because he was from a wealthy family but it didn't take long for the police to see the cracks appear. Over the course of the day, Ronald Jr had given them various stories and tried to convince the police that the murders were carried out by various hitmen who were working for the mafia before eventually giving in and confessing. He told the police that afternoon: ''Once I started, I just couldn't stop. It went so fast.''

(Top from left: John, Allison, Marc. Bottom from left: Dawn and Ronald Jr DeFeo. Picture credit: historyvshollywood.com)

The police found various guns inside the DeFeo home and investigators removed them during their search that day. Reporters and members of the public continued to gather outside and the police would give nothing away about the investigation but what they were keeping quiet was that Ronald Jr was their number one suspect and that they were looking for the gun that was used in the killings. They knew that Ronald Jr had owned a .35 Marlin rifle and the bullets from that gun were used but it was nowhere in the house, the police found an empty box for the gun in Ronald Jr's closet. The police also discovered that Ronald Jr was on bail for suspected theft and was being treated for substance misuse at the time of the murders. 

(The Amityville house during the police search. Picture credit: topic.com)

After the confession and finding the empty box for the gun as well as other evidence, the police charged Ronald Jr for the murders of his parents and younger siblings. He told the police another story about his movements in the early hours of the 13th of November. He told the police that he woke up around 2 am and shot his parents first before going into Allison's bedroom and shooting her. As I mentioned earlier the police claimed that there was evidence to suggest that Allison was awake at this time which I believe to be true as she would have heard the noise from the gun. Marc and John were killed next (according to his statement) but they were said to be asleep when this happened (I'm not sure how they could have slept through that noise if Allison and Dawn were awake, unless they were already awake in their rooms? what are your thoughts?). Dawn was on the second floor in an attic room and he claimed that she woke up and he shot her, He would later share another story that Dawn was involved in the murders. 


After he carried out the murders he told the police that he wrapped up his blood stained clothes and cartridges in some pillowcases and drove to Brooklyn, he stopped on the way there to dispose of the gun in Amityville Bay. He dumped the rest of the ammunition boxes, rifle case and some more cartridges in a drain in Brooklyn. The police later found all of these items. The gun was also found after the police had done a thorough search of Amityville Bay. 

Ronald Jr appeared in court on the 15 of November 1974, at first he was being charged with the murder of his brother Marc but the police claimed that this was just a procedure and that he would be tried for the other murders too. 

Another sinister aspect of the case and one that often fuels rumours that the house is indeed possessed is that of the neighbours statements about the early hours of the 13th of November 1974, They didn't hear a sound. The only thing anyone heard was the sound of the family's dog barking outside. 

It was no secret that Ronald Jr had a tense relationship with his father but the police couldn't work out a motive especially for killing his mother and siblings too. He did allegedly ask the police whilst he was in custody how he would go about getting his hands on his inheritance from his father's estate.

On the 4th of December 1975, Ronald Jr was sentenced to six consecutive sentences of 25 years to life. 

There's been so many stories from Ronald DeFeo Jr that it's hard to believe what is fact and what is fiction whenever he speaks. He has claimed in one story that Dawn and another unnamed individual had killed everyone and that he had shot Dawn by accident after a struggle with the gun. There were people who actually believed some of this story because some gun powder was later found on Dawn's nightdress. 

He then changed his story again and claimed to have committed the murders with Dawn and her two friends. 

Louise, Ronald Snr, John, Marc, Dawn and Allison were laid to rest in Saint Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale. Someone posted a video of the gravesite on Youtube 

As you know, this isn't where the story of Amityville ends, this is just the beginning and that's a whole other blog post delving more into horror and paranormal. Not long after the murder had taken place, the Lutz family (George and Kathy Lutz and their three children) moved into the Amityville house in December of 1975. They also purchased what was left of the DeFeo furniture including one of the bedframes from one of the beds that had been present on the night of the murders. The family only lived there for 28 days and fled due to terrifying circumstances, they claimed that the house was haunted, that all kinds of terrifying things had been going on. 

(The Amityville house today. Picture credit: saturdayeveningpost.com

The story of their ordeal sparked a craze of books, horror movies, documentaries as well as obsessed fans and paranormal investigators descending on the house. Some people still believe to this day that the house is evil.

Allegedly when George Lutz first moved into the house he used an Ouija board as a way to contact the deceased DeFeo family. 

There's so much more to be said about Amityville and as I mentioned earlier ANOTHER movie is being made about it. I guess the obsession with that house will always remain.

What are your thoughts about the DeFeo case and do you believe that Amityville is haunted?

Oh and btw, would I stay in the Amityville house? Oh yes I would (but I'm a spooky girl lol). 

Thanks for checking out my latest case and thank you to Mike Ambrosino for requesting it! See you in the next post x 

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