Sometimes evil lies just beyond the eyes of a person making a person so cruel and horrendous that he can slay his entire family without a second thought.
Unfortunately, this evil lived within Ronald DeFeo Jr., leading him to commit the Amityville Murders that still send shivers up our spines today.
The DeFeo Family Before Tragedy Struck
Teenage lovers Louise and Big Ronnie fell head over heels and got hitched after a brief courtship, although Louise's parents disapproved of their romance. Louise's parents cut ties with their daughter until they heard of the birth of their first grandson.
Born on September 26th, 1951, Ronald Joseph DeFeo Jr. brought the broken family back together. However, happy days didn't last long as Big Ronnie had anger issues and would often punish little Ronald beyond reasonable measures. This included throwing the young child across the room or pushing him into walls.
Ronald wasn't the only child for very long, and soon he was joined by a sister, Allison Louise DeFeo, and two brothers, Marc Gregory DeFeo and John Matthew DeFeo. The DeFeo family was bursting at the seams.
Ronald DeFeo Jr.'s Cruel Childhood
Ronald had a tough childhood because he was heavyset. He quickly got the nickname Butch. Nasty classmates called him the Blob, Pork Chop, or Bucky Beaver.
On top of the embarrassment and torture endured at school, Butch had his father, who mistreated him at home. Being the eldest, Butch was at the receiving end of harsh expectations and evil consequences much more than his siblings, who seemed to have it all.
The more his father's controlling manner and abusive nature grew, the more his mother seemed to fade into the background. As a troubled teen, Butch tried to escape his reality with the help of alcohol and drugs. The conflict between Big Ronnie and Butch continued to grow, leading to Butch threatening his father at gunpoint.
From Troubled Teen To Chilling Amityville Murders
Butch started working at the auto-dealership that his family-owned, but he wasn't motivated. On a day that seemed much like any other in 1979, Butch left work early to join his mates for a drink at a local bar.
His friends later stated that Butch seemed annoyed that he called home multiple times without any success and felt ignored.
He left the bar somewhat irritated, and little did his friends know that he was about to change the history of Amityville forever by committing the Amityville murders.
Several Bodies Bleeding In Their Beds
The quiet bar's peace was interrupted by a hysterical Butch returning just after 6 am the following day. He screamed that his parents had been shot and begged for help. But, instead, unexpecting locals followed him back to his home on Ocean Avenue, not knowing that what they were about to see would never be unseen.
When they entered the ordinary-looking home, there were six bodies in their beds. They were all lying on their stomachs. Investigators established that they were shot at about 3:15 in the morning with a high-powered gun.
Changing Alibis And Theories
Investigators were confused by some factors of the Amityville murders. For example, there were no signs of forced entry into the DeFeo home. There was also no evidence of any struggle or that the victims were drugged. In addition, no one heard any signs of distress or gunshots. They only recalled hearing the dog barking in the early morning hours.
Butch stated that he was at work and later said he was at the bar. However, once the police determined the time of death, Butch's alibi fell flat. He continued to change his alibi several times as the investigation continued. What appeared to be out of sheer desperation, Butch claimed that a hitman named Louis Falini (pictured) killed his entire family.
Butch said that he knew Falini murdered them because he forced him to watch. However, unknown to Butch, Falini had a solid alibi, and Butch's accusation crumbled. Finally, Butch admitted to what investigators had expected for some time, that he was the one who killed his entire family.
The Amityville Murders: "The Voices Made Me Do It"
On October 14th, 1975, Ronald Joseph DeFeo Jr. stood trial for the murder of his entire family. William Weber, his attorney, plead insanity, stating that Ronald had heard voices that encouraged him to commit the horrific crime.
Although the prosecution couldn't argue that Butch was troubled, they stated that he was utterly aware of what he was doing as he pulled the trigger on each of his family members.
Therefore, Ronald DeFeo Jr. was convicted on six counts of second-degree murder. He received a sentence of six sentences of 25 years to life that would be served concurrently. Butch would never see the outside of prison again.
Multiple Murderers In The House
Later, Butch changed his version of what happened on the tragic night of the Amityville murders. He stated that his sister killed Big Ronnie, their father. This caused their mother to have a mental breakdown, and she killed all of Butch's siblings. He had to kill his mother to stop her from killing him.
He changed his tale yet again in 1990. This time he said that Dawn had shot everyone before he had to shoot her to save himself.
Could The Amityville House Be Haunted?
There were several theories over the years that the family's home was haunted. People loved the idea of a haunting leading to possession. Could Butch have been possessed and driven to commit the Amityville murders by something that we can't see?
Whether you believe in possession or not, there are hair-raising facts about the house with the previous owners' son, Daniel stating he had an experience in the house where he was possessed. This makes us wonder whether Butch could have been possessed by the same spirit and committed the most chilling crime known to man, mass-murdering your entire family.
Sadly, we will never know the whole story of the Amityville murders since Butch passed away on March 15, 2021, taking the truth of what happened that spine-chilling night with him.