‘Amityville Horror’ Killer Ronald DeFeo Dies in Prison at 69

Still from 1979 motion picture

By Serach Nissim 

The killer, who spread dread throughout Long Island, by murdering his parents and four siblings in 1974, has died in prison.

Ronald DeFeo Jr., the “Amityville Horror” killer, died on Friday at the age of 69, while serving a 25-years-to-life sentence at Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, New York, as per the state Department of Corrections.  As reported by the NY Post, the convicted murderer was transferred to Albany Medical Center and pronounced dead at 6:35 p.m.  The cause of his death is not yet known, and an autopsy performed by the Albany County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine an official cause of death.

DeFeo, born in Brooklyn, was convicted of killing his mother, father, two sisters and two brothers inside their Amityville home on Ocean Avenue at the age of 23.  He had reportedly used a .35-caliber Marlin lever-action rifle to shoot each of his parents twice, along with siblings Dawn, 18, Allison, 13, Marc, 12, and John, 9—all who had been in bed at the time.  His defense lawyer had tried to plea insanity, appealing that DeFeo heard voices telling him that his family plotted against him.  The psychiatrist for the prosecution had argued although DeFeo used drugs including heroin and LSD, he did have an antisocial personality disorder, but was aware of his actions at the time of the murders. In 1975 he had been convicted of six counts of second-degree murder, and was given six ‘25-years to life’ sentences.

In a 2006 jailhouse interview, DeFeo had pinned the blame on his eldest sister, claiming incredulously that she had killed the other siblings, and so then he had killed her along with his parents.  Their home, in which the bloodbath took place, became the neighborhood haunted house, changing its house number from 112 Ocean Ave to 108 Ocean Ave., in hopes of driving away tourists. A year after the multiple murders, a new buyer purchased the home — but left 28 days after moving in apparently creeped out by the house, and complaining of “strange sounds, voices and green slime oozing from the walls,” as per a report by 6sqft.

The 1977 book entitled “The Amityville Horror” written by Jay Anson, and the subsequent movies made with the same name, were based on the terrors story of the home possessed by evil spirits, and haunted by events too morbid to describe.

DeFeo had been scheduled for a parole hearing this coming July, as per online DOC records.