Amityville Horror Killer Ronald DeFeo Jr. Dead at 69
Ronald DeFeo Jr., who killed his parents and four siblings in 1974, going on to inspire the events [...]
Ronald DeFeo Jr., who killed his parents and four siblings in 1974, going on to inspire the events of The Amityville Horror, died last Friday, March 12th, at age 69. DeFeo was serving a 25-to-life sentence at the Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, New York, and was up for parole this July. A cause of death has yet to officially be determined, though he was reportedly transferred to Albany Medical Center on Friday afternoon and was pronounced dead at 6:35 p.m., according to Newsday. The cause of DeFeo's death is set to be determined by Albany County Medical Examiner's Office.
On November 13, 1974, police say that DeFeo killed all six of his family members with a .35-caliber rifle. DeFeo's attorney William Weber attempted to mount an insanity plea, with DeFeo claiming that he was hearing voices plotting against him and these were merely acts of self-defense. Despite being a drug user, prosecutors say he was sane at the time of his crimes.
A year after these crimes, the Lutz family moved into the Long Island home at an affordable price. Shortly after moving in, the family began to experience a number of bizarre occurrences. On the more mundane side of reports, the family reported often waking up at 3:15 AM (the time at which DeFeo murdered his family), massive amounts of flies swarmed the house, cold spots, strange smells, and the discovery of a hidden room that did not appear on the blueprints that made their dog anxious. On the more extreme end of experiences, the five-year-old Missy Lutz claimed to have befriended a demonic pig monster, mother Kathy Lutz claimed to see demons in the fireplace, and Kathy also felt "embraced" by an unseen love while she was asleep.
In 1977, the book The Amityville Horror by author Jay Anson was published, chronicling the Lutz family's ordeal. In 1979, James Brolin and Margot Kidder starred in an adaptation of the book, kicking off one of horror's most well-known haunted-house franchises. That original film has earned eight follow-ups, while Ryan Reynolds starred in a remake in 2005. Outside of this franchise, the true-life crimes have inspired other films and spinoffs, as well as the documentary My Amityville Horror, detailing the impact of the events on members of the Lutz family.
Films like The Amityville Harvest and Amityville 1974 are both currently on the horizon and center around the infamous home.
Header photo courtesy of Bettmann/Getty Images1comments