The Defeo Family Biography

The DeFeo family is the family that was murdered in the house that later served as the setting for the best-selling book The Amityville Horror (1977). On November 14, 1974, 23 year-old Ronald "Butch" DeFeo, Jr. shot and killed his entire family in their home: his father, mother, two brothers and two sisters. Shortly after the murders, George and Kathy Lutz moved into the DeFeo house. They left 28 days later, claiming the house was haunted. Author Jay Anson detailed their story in a book billed as nonfiction. The book was a bestseller and was turned into a movie (1979) that spawned an entire franchise, making it one of the most famous ghost stories in U.S. history. In 1979 William Weber, DeFeo's defense attorney, claimed the whole thing was a hoax concocted "over many bottles of wine." Subsequent occupants never experienced supernatural goings-on, and skeptics dismiss the case out of hand as an elaborate hoax, but true believers maintain that the Amityville case is proof of the supernatural. Butch DeFeo was convicted of the murders and is still serving his sentence in a New York prison.

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