Ronald DeFeo Jr., the mass murderer who killed his mother, father, and four siblings in their Amityville home in 1974 in what became known as The Amityville Horror died on Friday, according to the New York State Department of Corrections. He was 69.
DeFeo was found guilty of six counts of second-degree murder and given six sentences of 25 years-to-life in prison in 1975. He died at Albany Medical Center. He was transferred to the hospital from Sullivan Correctional facility while serving out his sentence. The cause of death was not immediately known.
DeFeo’s victims were his mother Louise, 43; father Ronald, 43; and siblings Dawn, 18; Allison, 13; Marc, 12; and John Matthew, 9. DeFeo was 23 at the time when he killed his family members inside their home on Ocean Avenue in Amityville. The family had lived there since 1965. The victims were buried at Saint Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.
The house and crime were subject of The Amityville Horror series of books and films after George and Kathy Lutz, who bought the place a year later, wrote a book claiming the house was possessed by evil spirits.
None of the homeowners since the Lutz family have claimed anything unusual in the Dutch Colonial, except having to change the address and remove the eerie quarter-round windows to throw off tourists. Likewise, a Press reporter who attended the August 2010 estate sale before the home sold for $950,000 felt nothing amiss in the three-story house, its master bedroom or “weird” basement with the foosball table—just something odd about the fanatics who waited an hour on line for the rare chance to see inside.
The bestselling 1977 book that spawned the franchise included the tag line, “A True Story,” practically daring authors, filmmakers and independent investigators to try to debunk it.
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