The real Amityville Horror is the strange story of the brutal DeFeo murders that took place 13 months earlier.
This A&E documentary explores the true story behind the Amityville Horror: the bizarre circumstances surrounding the brutal murders of the DeFeo family on November 13th, 1974.
Thirteen months before George and Kathleen Lutz moved into the foreboding Dutch Colonial house located at 112 Ocean Ave in Amityville, New York, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. marched through the house with a rifle. At about 3 o’clock in the morning the eldest DeFeo brother, 23 at the time, went room to room, putting a .35 caliber bullet through each of his family members: his mother, father and all four of his younger siblings.
At the crime scene police found each victim lying face down in their beds with no signs of struggle or the use of sedatives. A suppressor was not used on the rifle, but the neighbors never heard the gunshots. It was determined that most of the victims were asleep at the time of the murders.
William Weber, DeFeo’s lawyer, mounted a defense to support a plea of insanity. DeFeo claimed he murdered his family in self-defense because he heard their voices plotting against him.
In an interview with author Ric Osuna for his 2002 book The Night the DeFeos Died, Ronald DeFeo implicated his sister Dawn, as well as two friends. Forensic evidence of unburned gun powder on Dawn’s nightgown could potentially support this claim, but the truth may never be known.
The Lutzes moved into the house in December of 1975. They were eager to start their new lives together, and the tragedy gave the house a price tag they couldn’t refuse.
28 days later, the Amityville Horror was born.
Attorney Weber initially tried to ink a book deal with the Lutzes, presumably to support his defense in DeFeo’s trial, which had just begun in October of 1975. A disagreement over percentages, however, lead to the Lutzes working with Jay Anson, instead. The book told the story of what has become the most controversial haunted house story of all time.