Ronald DeFeo, the ‘Amityville Horror’ murderer who killed his six family members in 1974 on New York’s Long Island, has died behind in prison.
DeFeo, 69, died Friday while serving a 25 years-to-life sentence at Sullivan Correctional facility in Fallsburg, New York, officials said.
DeFeo’s family murder spree served as the inspiration behind ‘The Amityville Horror’ book and movie franchise, the New York Post reported.
Flanked by two Suffolk County Homicide Squad detectives, 24 year-old Ronald DeFeo is led to his booking on multiple murder charges in Hauppauge, New York, on Nov. 11, 1974
View of the home of Ronald DeFeo Sr. The car salesman, his wife, two daughters and two sons were found shot to death in November 1974 by Ronald DeFeo Jr.
DeFeo was transferred to Albany Medical Center and pronounced dead at 6:35 p.m. The Albany County Medical Examiner’s Office is expected to perform an autopsy to determine an official cause of death, but does not release the information except to relatives.
The state Department of Corrections said it could not disclose why DeFeo was hospitalized, citing health privacy laws, The Associated Press reported.
DeFeo, who was 23 at the time, used a .35-caliber Marlin lever-action rifle to slaughter the family, who were found lying face-down in their beds on Nov. 13, 1974.
Ronald DeFeo Sr., 43, mother Louise DeFeo, 43, were both shot twice. Siblings Dawn, 18, Allison, 13, Marc, 12, and John, 9, were each shot once.
DeFeo’s attorney mounted an insanity defense, claiming he heard voices saying his family was plotting against him.
He was convicted in 1975 of six counts of second-degree murder and received six sentences of 25 years to life.
DeFeo, whose nickname was Butch, was scheduled for a parole hearing in July, online state Department of Corrections records said.
In a 2006 jailhouse interview, DeFeo claimed he only killed his father, his mother and his eldest sister, Dawn. The other siblings were murdered by Dawn before DeFeo killed her, he said.
The address of the home when the crimes occurred was 112 Ocean Ave., but was changed to 108 Ocean Ave. to discourage tourists.
A year after the killings, George and Kathy Lutz purchased the house, but left 28 days later after reporting paranormal activity. They said there were “strange sounds, voices and green slime oozing from the walls,” real estate site 6sqft reported.
The events served as the inspiration for the 1977 book and 1979 cult classic film of the same name starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder.
The 1927 Dutch Colonial home underwent renovations after Caroline and David D’Antonio purchased it in 2010 for $950,000.
In 2016, the 5,000-square-foot, five-bedroom home went on the market for $850,000 and was purchased months later by an unnamed buyer.