After a lengthy trial that concluded right before Thanksgiving, Butch DeFeo was found guilty of killing his father, mother, two brothers, and two sisters. On December 4, 1975, Justice Thomas Stark said that the crimes were “the most heinous and abhorrent,” and sentenced Butch to 25 years to life. No other suspect was ever prosecuted for the crime. Officially, Butch DeFeo acted alone in the grisly crime. Unofficially, the evidence pointed to a conspiracy.

Herman Race, a former New York City supervising police detective, was hired by Michael Brigante Sr. to investigate the murders. Brigante had testified at trial that he did not feel that his grandson acted alone in the commission of the crime. Since Brigante did not feel that his grandson had done all that he was accused of, he wanted Race, a licensed investigator and friend, either to prove or disprove the case against Butch.

Race eventually uncovered evidence that showed there were multiple gunmen and at least two guns used during the commission of the crime. During a private court hearing and at trial, Race's findings were corroborated by the prosecutor and the medical examiner, who was astonished that one man sat accused of being the sole gunman.

* * *

During a November 30, 2000 meeting with Ric Osuna, author of The Night the DeFeos Died, Butch DeFeo confessed that, along with his sister Dawn DeFeo, he and one of his friends actually committed the murders out of desperation. This fact was confirmed by a letter written by Butch DeFeo. In his own handwriting, Butch wrote, "...it was cold-blooded murder. Period. No ghosts. No demons. Just three people in which I was one."

During the 2000 interview, the details of the hours leading up to the six killings emerged. The DeFeo household had been in a frenzied state during the evening of November 12, 1974. Butch's father, according to Butch, routinely abused his family. After that evening's tirade had settled down, Butch, his 18-year-old sister Dawn, and two of Butch's friends proceeded to get "high" in the basement.

Incensed that her father was preventing her from joining her boyfriend in Florida and worn out from the years of physical abuse, Dawn DeFeo approached her older brother about killing their parents. Butch initially refused. After a culmination of drugs, alcohol, and desperation over the next few hours, Butch finally gave into Dawn's ghoulish request. Employing his two friends, Butch and Dawn left the safety of the family's basement and headed for their parents' bedroom on the second floor. It was around 1:00 a.m. on November 13, 1974. While one friend waited as a lookout, the other, with his Colt Python, followed Butch, who had armed himself with a .35-Marlin rifle.

A votive candle burning on the father's dresser, the second-floor bathroom light, and a military-style flashlight that was later recovered by the police on the brown recliner in the hallway outside of the master bedroom was their only light source (See Crime-Scene Gallery).

The parents were attacked while they lay in bed. Mr. DeFeo, however, was able to struggle to his feet to attempt a counterattack on his assassins. A second bullet struck him dead before he was able to reach his target. Louise DeFeo lay in bed, moaning for help, as she slowly bled to death. A second bullet would silence the woman for good.

Although the original plan called for the younger children to be taken to the grandparents' house in Brooklyn, Dawn, according to Butch, killed them to eliminate the children as witnesses and potential threats. Butch claimed he was not in the house at the time of the children's murders, but giving pursuit to one his friends, who had fled the scene, in order to lure him back to assist with the cleanup. Even while feigning insanity at trial, Butch DeFeo never admitted shooting the children.

One can only imagine the horror on Marc's and John's faces when their big sister entered their room with a rifle. Dawn callously ordered the boys face down. A clue that the DeFeos were awake at the time of the murders rested in the final position of Marc DeFeo's body. Because Marc had suffered a debilitating injury from football, he was forced to sleep on his back. Yet, he was shot face down in bed. The prosecutor confirmed this fact at the DeFeo trial.

The next room Dawn entered was Allison's. Standing at the doorway, Dawn raised the rifle, taking aim as Allison slightly raised her head before looking into the muzzle flash. Death was instantaneous, as the bullet impacted Allison's left cheek and exited her right ear. Allison's wounds were meant to disfigure the beautiful girl.

Butch, upon his return and enraged at the senseless murder, confronted Dawn DeFeo in her third-floor bedroom. After briefly wrestling for the gun, Butch got the upper hand and slammed Dawn against the bed knocking her out. As she lie unconscious on her bed, Butch placed the back of the rifle to Dawn's head and fired. The murderous spree had finally ended, but the cleanup had just begun.

* * *

Today, Butch DeFeo has once again decided to blame the entire crime on his sister, even though the evidence clearly supports Butch's involvement. Nevertheless, evidence also supports the claims that more than one gun and killer were involved in the DeFeo murders. Butch has conveniently forgotten writing an admission to which he admitted being part of a conspiracy.

Although several attempts were made by Ric Osuna to contact one of the accomplices named by Butch DeFeo, rumor had it he had entered into a witness protection program for something unrelated to Amityville. The other accomplice named by Butch DeFeo died on January 1, 2001. The man refused author Osuna's request for an interview or a chance to clear up any speculation over his involvement.

As for Dawn, the post mortem examination discovered that she had "unburned" powder burns on her nightgown, which lent further credence to Butch's claims of his sister's involvement. Substantial evidence exists to support the story Butch DeFeo shared with author Ric Osuna and Geraldine DeFeo.

A DETAILED ACCOUNT OF THE MURDERS CAN BE FOUND IN
THE NIGHT THE DEFEOS DIED: REINVESTIGATING THE AMITYVILLE MURDERS.

BUY IT HERE


CLICK TEXT TO OPEN

 

BUTCH DEFEO CONFESSES

 

MUG SHOTS

 

TESTIMONY FROM HERMAN RACE

 

TESTIMONY FROM MEDICAL EXAMINER

 

AFFIDAVIT CONCERNING DAWN DEFEO

 

LAB REPORT REGARDING DAWN DEFEO

 

BUTCH DEFEO'S TESTIMONY

 

THE PROSECUTOR'S OPENING STATEMENT

 

BUTCH TO NAME NAMES

 

DEFEO 1999 PAROLE HEARING

 

DEFEO GRAVE

 

 

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