The man at the center of the murder case that inspired “The Amityville Horror” has died.
Ronald DeFeo Jr. was 69.
DeFeo killed his father, mother, two brothers and two sisters inside their home in Suffolk County, New York, back in 1974, WABC News reported.
According to The New York Times report from November 1974, DeFeo was a 23-year-old auto mechanic. He told police that he gave his family heavy doses of barbiturates before killing them, slipping the drugs into their dinner. After the murders, he called the police to report that he had found their bodies.
Police said Ronald DeFeo Sr., 43; Louise DeFeo, 42; Dawn Defeo, 18; Allison Defeo, 13; Mark DeFeo, 11; and John Matthew, 7, were all found shot to death in their beds, with their hands above their heads and face down. Each parent was shot twice in the back. The girls were shot once each in the head and the boys were shot once each in the back. Police later found a rifle in a creek behind the family’s home, the Times reported at the time.
He originally said a mob hitman killed his family but then confessed to the murders, WABC reported.
The home where the murders happened became famous because of the film “The Amityville Horror,” WNBC reported. The film, released in 1979 starred James Brolin and Margot Kidder and was based on the book with the same name.
DeFeo was being held at Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, New York, after being sentenced to six terms of 25 years to life, WABC reported.
His cause of death Friday was not released. It will be determined by the county medical examiner’s office, WNBC reported.
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