What Is the Truth About the Amityville Murders?

The Amityville murders, which inspired the 1979 Oscar-nominated film, "The Amityville Horror," were the murders of Ronald J. DeFeo and his wife, Louise, as well as four of their children, John, Mark, Allison and Dawn. The police learned of the murders after the eldest son, Ronald "Butch" DeFeo, claimed he found the bodies on the second floor of the family's home. Authorities convicted DeFeo of shooting his parents and siblings while they slept on the morning of Nov. 13, 1974.

DeFeo killed his family within 15 minutes and then dressed for work. He hid the murder weapon, a .35-caliber Marlin rifle, and clothing in a pillow sack and put them in a storm drain. He attempted to cover up the murders by making a call to his home, visiting friends and telling them no one at his home would answer, and then telling a friend at 6 p.m. that evening that he found someone had broken into the home.

DeFeo claimed that mob hit man, Louis Falini, committed the murders, but authorities found evidence to suspect DeFeo had been the killer. He changed his story a few times before finally admitting to the truth. A jury found him guilty on six counts of second-degree murder due to testimony from the defense that DeFeo suffered from antisocial personality disorder.