The Amityville Murders, 39 Years Later
Today marks the 39th anniversary of the DeFeo murders, which were the impetus behind The Amityville Horror.
On November 13, 1974, six members of the DeFeo family–patriarch Ronnie DeFeo, Sr., his wife Louise, and four of their children–Dawn (18), Allison (13), Marc (12), and John Matthew (9)–were all murdered in their beds at around 3 a.m. with a .35 Marlin rifle. Their eldest son Ronald “Butch” DeFeo, Jr. was eventually tried and convicted of the murders and sentenced to six concurrent sentences of 25 years to life.
Just over a year after the murders, George and Kathy Lutz moved into the former DeFeo home at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville; over the next 28 days, the paranormal phenomena they endured would lead to decades of controversy in what has become America’s most well-known haunted house story.
The Amityville story has always fascinated me, and that has helped drive some of the best episodes of Spooky Southcoast we’ve done in our nearly eight full years on the air. From documentarians like Ryan Katzenbach and Eric Walter to psychics like Jackie Barrett to investigators like Laura DiDio to one of the actual Lutz children, we’ve covered the story from top to bottom but always are willing to go back for more.
But as much as we love talking about the case, and learning new things about it, it’s important to always remember that six people–including four innocent children–lost their lives in brutal fashion on this date back in 1974. And that’s more horrible than any ghost story.