Ronald Joseph “Butch” DeFeo Jr. (born September 26, 1951) is an American mass murderer. He was tried and convicted for the 1974 killings of his father, mother, two brothers, and two sisters. The case inspired the book and film versions of The Amityville Horror.
DeFeo’s trial began on October 14, 1975. He and his defense lawyer William Weber mounted an affirmative defense of insanity, with DeFeo claiming that he killed his family in self-defense because he heard their voices plotting against him. The insanity plea was supported by the psychiatrist for the defense, Dr. Daniel Schwartz. The psychiatrist for the prosecution, Dr. Harold Zolan, maintained that although DeFeo was an abuser of heroin and LSD, he had antisocial personality disorder and was aware of his actions at the time of the crime.
The book, purportedly based on a true story, describes the house at 112 Ocean Avenue as remaining empty for 13 months after the DeFeo murders…
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