Ronald DeFeo Jr., the infamous mass murderer convicted of murdering his family in 1974 and inspiring The Amityville Horror, has died. DeFeo, who had been serving a 25-year to life sentence for the murders at the Sullivan Correctional Center in Fallsburg, died last week according to New York state officials. He was 69 years old.
An official cause of death has yet to be determined, pending results from the Albany County Medical Examiner’s Office. According to officials, Ronald DeFeo Jr. had been taken to Albany Medical Center to be treated for undisclosed ailments, where he was later pronounced dead on the night of March 12. A spokesperson who spoke on behalf of the Department of Corrections of the Department of State and Community Oversight said that she cannot However, comment on the incident.
DeFeo, known to guards and other inmates as “Butch,” was convicted on November 21, 1975, and was sentenced to six 25-year life sentences at the time. Had he not passed away, DeFeo would have been eligible for a parole hearing in July. Given the gruesome nature of the crimes, the number of victims and the national attention to the case, it still seems highly unlikely that the killer would ever have been granted release from prison.
According to police, DeFeo shot and killed his mother, father, two sisters and two brothers on November 13, 1974. The murders occurred inside the Dutch colonial-style family home on Ocean Avenue in Amityville. His attorney had advocated for an insanity defense at trial, as DeFeo claimed he killed family members in self-defense after allegedly hearing voices that they were conspiring against him. It didn’t work out, and DeFeo has been behind bars ever since.
It was not so much the murders of the family that inspired the Amityville horror franchise much like the reports of paranormal activity that would occur in the home afterwards. In particular, the Lutz family claimed that they had been terrorized by malevolent spirits when they bought the house and moved in, forcing them to flee in a matter of weeks. The authenticity of the reports has been debated, but the stories are among the most popular legends ever told.
In 1977, murders and reports of a haunting inspired the 1977 horror novel. The terror of Amityville, a true story by Jay Anson. This was followed by the successful horror movie adaptation. The Amityville Horror in 1979, a film that has become a cult classic and one of the most popular ghost movies of all time. It would also bring several sequels over the years, along with a wide variety of other film adaptations that continue to this day. Nothing less than four indie Amityville Horror movies were developed only last year.
James Wan’s hit horror sequel The spell 2 It also featured its main characters, a pair of paranormal investigators played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, investigating the infamous Amityville house. Another well-known movie inspired by the murders is the 2005 reboot of The Amityville Horror starring Ryan Reynolds as the patriarch of the Lutz family. Brendan Donaldson played DeFeo in the film. This news comes to us from Newsday.
Topics: Amityville Horror, Obituaries, Amityville 1974