“I happened to check into the murders. And I checked into the twenty year old boy who killed his parents, and his four brothers and sisters. And when he was at trial, he testified that he heard voices in the house. He heard voices in the house and the voices told him to DO it! Now, I was in the house and I heard the voices, too! And I also felt their presence in the house! I’m telling you, there was a presence in that house!”Father Delaney, The Amityville Horror
The DeFeo family home stood like any other, unrecognizable from the other homes in Long Island at the time in an affluent suburban neighborhood in the 1970s. It wasn’t until the gruesome murder of the DeFeos that the home was put on the map as the infamous Amityville Horror House.
The DeFeo family consisted of parents Ronald DeFeo, Sr (44) and Louise DeFeo (42) and children Ronald Jr. aka Butch (23), Dawn (18), Allison (13), Marc (12), and John Matthew (9). On the night of November 13, 1974, all but Butch were found face-down in their beds having been murdered.
According to testimonies, at 6pm on November 13, Butch DeFeo ran into Henry’s Bar down the street from the home exclaiming that his mother and father had been shot. When he and a group of friends made it to the house, it was confirmed that the entire family had been killed in their beds.
Each family member was found lying face down in their beds. The weapon of choice was a .35 Marlin rifle–a gun that could be heard for miles. It is said that all but two, Louise and Allison, were asleep upon being shot. Upon examination of the bodies, it appeared that all had been killed around 3am the morning of November 13th, not having been found until 6pm the same night.
(7:43) “Now, in this town, he wasn’t known as a great guy. Like everybody basically knew he was a sociopath. And when they first heard about the murders, they immediately blamed him. They were like, ‘Oh, it was obviously Butch.'”
There are many theories and controversies as to how the murder took place. Was it Butch who claims to have found the bodies? Was it the mob as Butch had suggested? Why didn’t anyone hear the gun shots? Was sister Dawn also involved? Was Butch really hearing voices like he told the court?
Ultimately, despite an insanity plea, Butch was found guilty on six accounts of second-degree murder on November 21, 1975, a year after the murders took place. He was sentenced with 25 to life for the crime.
Butch DeFeo is currently held at the Sullivan Correctional Facility in the town of Fallsburg, New York. All appeals to the parole board have been denied.
Be sure to listen to Skye and Carrie go into more depth about the DeFeo family murder and the controversies surrounding the crime.