Ronald DeFeo Jr. Interviews: Forty Years Through “Amityville Horror” And How The Story Changed

Nov 15, 2014 01:47 PM EST | By Staff Reporter

Ronald DeFeo Jr. Interviews - Ronald DeFeo Jr. is the killer behind the Amityville murders that happened back in 1974 and 40 years later, they are still incredibly famous and chilling. What really happened, though?

On Nov. 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. used a high-powered rifle and killed his two parents, two sisters and two brothers. He was the older brother, being a 23-year-old young man at the time.

Just two days ago, the 40th anniversary of the horrific events took place. Ronald DeFeo Jr. is not just famous due to the killing of six people, all family members; also because at first he blamed the house and then changed his story numerous times.

As a matter of fact, in the very beginning, young DeFeo didn't admit the murders. Suffolk County Police received a call at 6:35 p.m. from Ronald and he told them that he "found" the bodies, NY Daily News noted.

Once the police arrived to the scene, they were able to find all the six bodies and the oldest son, only member left alive, said that he was working and once he got back, he saw all that and called the police.

The bodies belonged to: Ronald J. DeFeo, 43, Louise, his wife, 42, two sons, John and Mark, 9 and 12, and two daughters, Allison and Dawn, 13 and 18.

The bodies were in different floors of the three-story house. They were all in their nightclothes and there was no sign of a struggle. Also, there was no gun found. Afterwards, Ronald DeFeo Jr. was taken to Suffolk County Police for questioning.

He ended up confessing, but giving a strange reason. He said that "the voices from the house made him do it," CBS noted. It was with this line that many movies created a paranormal activity sort of fiction, and the most famous one being the 1979 "The Amityville Horror," which was even nominated to the Oscars.

But one year after the killings, the story changed. The trial took place and Robert DeFeo Jr. gave a different version of what took him to commit these murders.

"As far as I'm concerned, if I didn't kill my family, they were going to kill me. And as far as I'm concerned, what I did was self-defense and there was nothing wrong with it. When I got a gun in my hand, there's no doubt in my mind who I am. I am God."

These words might seem poignant and from a person who is not entirely in right track. Well, that was the idea. At the time, DeFeo's attorney wanted to stand by the version that the young man was insane and due to that reason, he did something "crazy" and killed his family.

But the prosecutor's aim was the exact opposite and in the end, Ronald DeFeo Jr. was convicted to six counts of 25 years each.

It happened in 1986, more than ten years after the trial that DeFeo gave his first newspaper interview to Newsday and a new story came to life once again.

In this version, DeFeo was not alone when he arrived to the house. He was with his brother-in-law. Apparently, he'd met his wife in 1973 after Thanksgiving in a bar and they got married one month before the murders.

Louise had called Ronald DeFeo Jr. to come to the house immediately because Dawn and her father were having a nasty fight. He went with the brother-in-law and "controlled" the situation.

Things seemed to cool off and at one point, they heard gun shots. They both went upstairs and the only person alive was Louise, who said Dawn had killed most of them, and then she killed her.

After killing her daughter, Louise shot herself in an attempt of suicide, but was left still wounded. Ronald then gave her one final shot. This basically means that in this version, Ronald wouldn't have really killed anyone.

Even Louise had tried to do it to herself on her own and the "self-defense" could even apply, perhaps. Still, there were loose ends in this interview.

All the facts were checked and none of them could be corroborated. There were no papers signed to state the marriage, nor the daughter that Ronald had now with his "wife" who was apparently 11 years old, by then.

And there was no interview that was possible to conduct with the "brother-in-law." Apart from that, no second gun was found in the crime scene either.

In 2006, 31 years passed since the murders took place and a new interview was conducted. This time, the interview was for a TV show. Ronald DeFeo Jr. was a 55-year-old man then.

The version changed once again. The interviewer was Steven Hogen, M.D., director of forensic psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital, NY Post noted.

This time, he'd only killed his father who was abusive. Louise, Allison, Mark and John had been killed by Dawn and then he killed her too. The show presented evidence which refuted every point that Ronald DeFeo Jr. stated.

"I don't find anything credible about the Dawn story. In fact, I think the most credible part of the interview was, it was very clear to me as a psychiatrist that he was disturbed about the murder of his brothers and his younger sister."

"And I wouldn't be able to say this was absolutely true, but it made me believe that, in fact, he had killed them," Dr. Hogen shared.

The latest known about the Amityville case was in 2012, when Ryan Katzenbach, a film maker doing a documentary on the case, stated that a new rifle was found. The film maker also doubted that the six killings could be committed by only one person.

Suffolk County Police didn't believe him, though, and actually stand with the fact that the Amityville killings are a closed case already, CBS noted.

In conclusion, there are too many versions of the Amityville murders and Ronald DeFeo Jr. has shared different faces in each interview. Which one's the real one?

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