Essay on Ronald DeFeo: The Real Life Amityville Horror

Essay on Ronald DeFeo: The Real Life Amityville Horror

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When thinking of a village nestled along a coastline, most people would think it would be the idyllic place to grow up or raise a family. Amongst the beaches, boats and the water affluent families live the American Dream. Often well educated with good careers, money was no object and the finer things in life were within easy reach. Beautiful homes line the canals in the village of Amityville, NY, but the DeFeo’s lived anything but that picturesque life. On the surface, all was serene, but underneath were very turbulent waters that culminated in the mass murder of six people.
Ronald and Louise DeFeo lived at 112 Ocean Avenue with their five children: Ronald, Jr., Dawn, Allison, Marc and John. Ronald, Sr. made a comfortable living working as a salesman at his father-in-law’s Buick dealership. They had the finer things in life: cars, boats, a beautiful home and wanted for nothing, but Ronald, Sr. had an incredibly volatile relationship with his family, often verbally and physically abusive toward his wife and children. Ronald, Jr., also known as Butch, received a good amount of the aggression from his father. In the documentary First Person Killers: Ronald DeFeo, trial juror Amelia Franza, recounted a story from Butch’s early childhood in which Butch was cranky at a family wedding. While Butch’s mother tried to console him, Ron, Sr. “just whacked him against a chair and that was the end of his crying.” That maltreatment Butch encountered as a child continued as he matured and he consequently began to emulate those behaviors toward his father and the few friends he had. Not only did he emulate them; they continued to escalate as Butch began to drink heavily and coupled it with drugs like LSD and heroin. In an episode t...


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...tling match with Dawn to wrangle the gun from her, it appears to be another of his pathologic lies, supported by the medical examiner’s exam of her body post-mortem. She had no injuries or fresh bruises present, nor did she have any of Butch’s cells scraped from under her fingernails, as the Law of Mutual Exchange would suggest. Albeit a cruel statement, when Butch says “Maybe I should have gotten a medal for killing them.” (Edginton), I believe that is one of the few things he is telling the truth about.



Works Cited

Edginton, John, dir. First Person Killers: Ronald DeFeo, Jr. History Channel, 2006. Film.

Hickey, Eric W. Serial Murderers and Their Victims. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.

Lynott, Douglas B., "The Real Life Amityville Horror: The Murder of the DeFeo Family." Crimelibrary.com. TruTV. Web. 07 Feb. 2014.

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