Ronald DeFeo, Whose Murder Spree Inspired ‘The Amityville Horror,’ Dies at 69

Ronald DeFeo, Whose Murder Spree Inspired ‘The Amityville Horror,’ Dies at 69


Ronald DeFeo, who was convicted of killing his parents and four siblings at the family’s home in Amityville, N.Y., in 1974 — a spree that spawned a series of books and movies, including the 1979 film “The Amityville Horror” — died on Friday at a hospital in Albany. He was 69.

The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision confirmed the death on Monday and said that the cause would be determined by the Albany County coroner.

Mr. DeFeo, who was serving 25 years to life in prison, had been held at the Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, N.Y., since 1975. He was transferred to the Albany Medical Center for medical care on Feb. 2.

Mr. DeFeo was convicted in 1975 on six counts of second-degree murder after he confessed to using a rifle to fatally shoot his father, Ronald DeFeo Sr.; his mother, Louise; his sisters, Dawn and Allison; and his brothers, Mark and John Matthew.

The victims were found in their beds with gunshot wounds on Nov. 13, 1974. Mr. DeFeo, the oldest of the siblings, was 23 at the time.

Amityville, a village on the South Shore of Long Island, has since been the setting for dozens of books and documentaries, including the 1977 book “The Amityville Horror” by Jay Anson, and a 1979 movie of the same name that inspired multiple remakes, prequels and sequels.

Mr. DeFeo was convicted in 1975 on six counts of second-degree murder after he confessed to using a rifle to fatally shoot his father, Ronald DeFeo Sr.; his mother, Louise; his sisters, Dawn and Allison; and his brothers, Mark and John Matthew.

The victims were found in their beds with gunshot wounds on Nov. 13, 1974. Mr. DeFeo, the oldest of the siblings, was 23 at the time.

Amityville, a village on the South Shore of Long Island, has since been the setting for dozens of books and documentaries, including the 1977 book “The Amityville Horror” by Jay Anson, and a 1979 movie of the same name that inspired multiple remakes, prequels and sequels.

Ronald DeFeo Jr., the killer who inspired "The Amityville Horror" book and movie series, has died, according to a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Services (DOCCS).
DeFeo, who was 69, was convicted of killing his father, mother, two brothers and two sisters inside their Amityville home in 1974, according to CNN affiliate WABC.

He was serving a sentence of 25 years to life when he died on March 12 at Albany Medical Center, the DOCCS spokesperson said.

His cause of death was not immediately available, but it "will be determined and released by the Albany County Medical Examiner's Office" and is at that office's discretion whether the results will be made publicly available, the spokesperson said.