Why did Ronald Defeo Jr kill his family?

MURDERER Ronald DeFeo Jr. who had killed his entire family and inspired “The Amityville Horror” has died.

DeFeo, 69, who was serving a 25-to-life sentence at Sullivan Correctional Facility, was found dead on Friday, March 12, 2021 at the Albany Medical Center.

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Ronald DeFeo Jr. was serving a 25-to-life sentence for killing his entire family in 1974[/caption]

Who was Ronald Defeo Jr?

Ronald DeFeo Jr. was serving a 25-to-life sentence for the brutal killing of his mom, dad, two sisters and two brothers.

DeFeo gunned down his family using a .35-caliber Marlin lever-action rifle, inside their home on Ocean Avenue in Amityville, Long Island, on Nov. 13, 1974.

All victims were found in the same position, face down in bed.

DeFeo, nicknamed Butch, who was 23 at the time, admitted he was an LSD and heroin user but he was deemed safe at the time of the attack.

After confessing to the murders, he was convicted in November 1975 and the following month he was sentenced to six sentences of 25-years-to-life by Judge Thomas Stark.

The horrifying murders inspired the 1977 book “The Amityville Horror, A True Story”.

Two years later followed a cult classic film starring James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger and Murray Hamilton.

Who were Ronald Defeo Jr’s victims?

Ronald DeFeo Jr was convicted for murdering his parents Louise and Ronald DeFeo Sr. and his four siblings Dawn, Allison, Marc and John.

The killer shot his parents twice while all the children had been killed with a single shot.

Physical evidence suggested that his mom and his younger sister were awake at the time of their deaths.

Ronald DeFeo Sr

One of the victims was Ronald DeFeo Sr, 43, the killer’s father.

Nicknamed “Big Ronnie” he was married to Louise DeFeo and had five children.

According to Ric Osuna, the author of “The Night the DeFeos died”, he was quite strict to his firstborn son Ronald Jr and would violently try to discipline him when he was young.

Louise DeFeo

Ronald Jr mom Louise DeFeo, 43, was the second victim who was shot in the back twice.

Born Louise Brigante, she was a former model and it was believed she was dating singer Mel Torme before her marriage to Ronald DeFeo Sr.

Dawn DeFeo

Ronald Jr also killed his 18-year-old sister Dawn, whom he later blamed for the killings of the rest of the family.

Speaking to Ric Osuna, the author of “The Night the DeFeos Died,” in November 2000, DeFeo confessed that along with his sister Dawn and two of his friends planned the murders of the family “out of desperation.”

He claimed that what led to the killings was their father’s regular abuse and it was initially Dawn’s idea, who killed their siblings first.

He then claimed he knocked her unconscious on to her bed and shot her on the head.

Allison DeFeo

Ronald Jr’s younger sister was another one of his victims.

It is believed the 13-year-old girl was awake at the time of her death when she received a bullet in her head.

Marc DeFeo

Butch’s fifth victim was his younger brother Marc DeFeo, 12.  

Prosecutors confirmed during Ronald Jr’s trial that Marc was shot face down in bed.

John DeFeo

The killer’s last victim was the family’s youngest child, John DeFeo, 9.

Similarly to his brother Marc, John was shot from close range.

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DeFeo, who was 23 at the time, claimed “voices” inside his head prompted him to kill his family[/caption]

Why did Ronald Defeo Jr kill his family?

Over the course of time DeFeo has changed his version of the story multiple times.

Initially, he had reported the murders himself, telling police someone had broken into the house and killed his family, and even claimed he thought the killer was Louis Falini, a mafia hitman.

During his trial in October 1975, Ronald DeFeo Jr claimed he killed his family in self-defence after hearing “voices.”

The insanity plea was supported by the psychiatrist for the defense but the psychiatrist for the prosecution said although DeFeo was an LSD and heroin user, he had an antisocial personality disorder, meaning he was fully aware of his actions at the time of the attack.

 In a 1986 interview for Newsday he blamed his sister Dawn for the brutal killings.


In 1990 he filed a 440 motion claiming Dawn alongside another assailant killed the family and he later killed Dawn by accident during a struggle.

His request for parole was denied.

His victims are all buried at Saint Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.


Source: The Sun

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