The Case Of Ronald Defeo Tragedy

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On November 13, 1974, Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire immediate family, including his father Ronald Sr, mother Louise, brother John, brother Mark, sister Allison, and sister Dawn. This tragedy occurred at 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, New York at approximately 3 a.m., in the family’s expensive Dutch colonial Long Island home. Due to the extensive media coverage, the case is well known as, “The Amityville Horror”. The morning following the murders, Butch cleaned up, collected incriminating evidence, left the house, and arrived at his family’s car dealership for work at 6am. He left work early because it was a slow day and went on to fill his day with alibis, telling friends that he had not heard from his family in awhile. Around …show more content…

“At his trial, DeFeo had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, claiming he had heard voices and that on the night of the murders something out of his control made him kill” (News, A, 1970). Defense attorney, William Weber, was the one who insisted on using the insanity defense, but was shut down by the psychiatrist for the prosecution. “The psychiatrist for the defense, Dr. Daniel Schwartz, supported the claim, saying that DeFeo was neurotic and suffered from dissociative disorder...But the psychiatrist for the prosecution, Dr. Harold Zolan, proved that DeFeo suffered from antisocial personality disorder. The illness made him aware of his actions, but motivated by a self-centered attitude” (Ronald DeFeo, 2015). Butch claimed he was motivated by voices in his head, but the prosecution speculated that, “His alleged motive, in addition to hate he felt, was money, hidden in his parents’ bedroom, the insurance money, and the home and family cars” (DeFeo Sentencing December 4, 1975). When he testified on his own behalf, he admitted to the murders again and said at one point, “I couldn’t care less what happens to me or the rest of my life” (Son, 24, Is Guilty in Murder of Six, 1975). Ronald DeFeo Jr. was convicted on six counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to six 25 years-to-life at Green Haven Correctional Facility in Stormville, NY. “It was learned that the jury was 10-2 …show more content…

Residents said it was impossible to drive down the roads and they had to show proof of where they lived in order to get through the roadblocks. The presence of reporters and officers working crowd control around the house made cracking the case more difficult. A couple years after his conviction, Butch asserted that his defense attorney used the insanity defense against his wishes. He sought out a new trial, “claiming his original lawyer had movie contracts, rather than defense strategy, on his mind...He told me I had to do this. He told me there would be a lot of money from book rights and a movie. He would have me out in a couple of years and I would come into all that money” (Schemo, 1992). He was denied a new trial but if his claims were true, the media had an influence on the

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