A&E DeFeo documentary - First Person Killers

General Discussion About the 1974 DeFeo Murders and related topics

Postby TigresMeow » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:21 pm

I think it's possible that Dawn was killed first. Ronnie shoots her but plays it off as he was cleaning his gun and it accidently went off. Ronnie Sr. figures he will deal with his son in the morning. Ronnie Sr. never makes it to morning.
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Postby GoonieNick » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:26 pm

I don't know. That seems far out. I mean if Ronnie killed Dawn first there is no way Ronnie Sr. will deal with it the morning!! The very least he will call the police and get the kids out of the house to the grandparents probably, especially knowing his drugged up son is out looming the streets after killing his daughter and likely to come back.
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Postby Link the Labrador » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:51 am

Well, Ronnie used to mess with his gun and I'm sure they'd go off by mistake a time or two. And if Ronnie just said: "I was cleaning my gun and it fired. No harm!" or something like that, then that would be enough to satisfy curiosity.

But yeah, you'd think Ron Sr. would go see what was going on.
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Postby Dan the Damned » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:16 am

I was wondering if it was possible that Dawn wasn't home at the time of the murders. And then when she came home later, the bedroom doors would all be closed and she wouldn't know the gruesome scenes that lay behind.

But then if that were the case, why kill Dawn, too? Ronnie could have just started up with his "I don't know what happened" story, or his "some mafia guys busted in and made me kill everyone" story.

Then again, I'm sure Ronnie wasn't thinking too clearly at the time.

As far as the father goes, ballistics evidence shows he was in bed when shot. One bullet went through the mattress, lining up with the bullet hole in his body, and the angles of the bullets' paths line up with him laying in bed and someone shooting from the doorway. Hard to mimic that trajectory with the father standing up. Probably impossible.

People always say that no matter what you don't stay in bed because you are afraid. It is a basic biological instinct to want to fight for your life and flee no over staying in bed and knowing you will get shot.


People say this? Who are these people (as Seinfeld would say)?

Yes, it is natural to attempt to fight for your life, but people are known to sometimes freeze in dangerous situations, too.

And you are assuming the family knew they were about to die. We don't know that for sure. Maybe they thought the only intended targets were the parents.

And would the kids have even known for sure that their parents were dead? Sure they heard 4 loud rifle shots, but with their bedroom doors shut, they might not have known exactly where in the house the shots came from, or if anyone was being shot at, or if Ronnie was shooting at possible intruders downstairs, etc.

And if the kids knew Ronnie was killing that night, they could have thought "this is our brother -- he won't kill us -- lets just do what he says and not piss him off and maybe we'll be okay."

Marc had an injured hip, so he couldn't get out of bed and run away; and its likely his youger brother (who shared the same room) decided to stay with Marc. After all, what choice did they have? To escape, they would have to run into the open hallway, run towards their parents' room, then past whoever had the gun (whether they knew it was Ronnie at the time or not, I don't know), and then start running down the stairs, making a perfect target for whoever had the gun as they went down the stairs with their backs towards the killer.
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Postby Shawn » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:39 am

Where did I read about how all of them had high levels of serotonin in their blood? If that is the case, then they were probably still mostly asleep when Butchie shot them.
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Postby Dan the Damned » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:55 am

Lisa made a post about that a few years back.

If by "mostly asleep" you mean they were "awake but groggy," then I could go with that.

BUT...

Evidence shows that both Mrs DeFeo and Allison were both awake when shot (both had their heads raised, looking at Ronnie, when shot).

And evidence also shows that Marc was likely awake. Due to his hip injury, he would have needed assistance to turn over in bed. The DA says in his book that Marc likely slept on his back (not sure if that's due to his injury or not).

And John was in the same room, so if someone was helping Marc turn over in bed, the commotion would surely have awoken John (let alone the gun blasts).
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Postby Shawn » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:14 pm

Exactly, Dan. Awake but groggy. And I think it takes a bit of time for serotonin to work its way out, if you know what I mean.

And I agree with you on everything else. Something is just not "right" about how all were on their stomachs. It would not be a natural position for marc at all given the nature of his injury.

Question: Was mark in a cast at the time?
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Postby Dan the Damned » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:33 pm

It doesn't appear he was in a cast, but I don't know for sure.

I really think that Ronnie had the boys roll over in bed so he wasn't looking at their faces when shooting. Did he like his brothers more than the others? Note how both sisters were shot in the face/head. Doesn't that seem like he had an especially hateful attitude towards them? The boys were both shot in the back, almost as if it was so hard to kill them, he couldn't do it while looking at their sad faces.
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Postby LongLiveQuarterMoon » Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:24 pm

He had more time growing up with Dawn and Allison for that matter too. Esp Dawn, even though they were 5 years apart, and 5 more years less with Allison. Kinda hard to explain, but growing up an only child most of my life, until my father remarried and had kids after I was almost grown, came to mind (ie: attention, favorite etc.). I am closer with my half sister then my brother even though its obvious that he is dad's favorite. Sorry JMO
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Postby astonio » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:11 pm

Ok. I've read the scenarios of Butch's movements that night and want to offer a theory of consideration.

First, we assume a lot when we consider Butch fired the rifle 8 times, four in his parents' room, twice in his brothers' room and once each in his sisters' rooms.

The parents were found shot twice, but who's to say Butch fired at them four times at first? Meaning, consider he fired initially at them once each. From there, I am not sure if he went to Allison or the boys. I'm thinking he went to the boys next firing into their backs. Now, Sullivan states due to Marc's injured hip, it was "likely" he slept on his back, but who's to say if this is fact? Marc had been in the hospital for weeks and had recently returned home prior to the murders. It may have been by that point, he was able to sleep on his stomach. Allison's bedroom was laid out that her bed was immediately at the door. It's unfortunately tragic, but based on where her bed lied, the possiblility of her looking at Butch at the time he fired per the ME's findings, he aimed at her face inadvertently. Having dispatched everyone on the second floor with one shot, he would then make his way toward Dawn. If what Butch says is true and that she awakened and asked if everything was okay, we still don't know if she asked by simply opening her bedroom door or opened her door and walked to the landing to ask. Whatever he told her was sufficient enough for her to be found the way she was, in her bed with a wound at the back of the left side of her neck. Now that everyone was shot, Butch would then leave her room and possibly heard his parents still alive, maybe groaning from their initial wounds. He would return to their room and realize that one or both of them were still alive and fire on them a second time. Because he had shot them in the back, he may have suspected one or both of the boys might still be alive. He would enter their room and based on how Officer Greguski claimed he found them with John's blanket at his feet and Marc's t-shirt pulled up, Butch checked them and confirmed they were dead or dying silently by that point. He wouldn't have needed to recheck Allison or Dawn because he knew they couldn't have made it.

Here are the reasons to support this theory:

If Butch shot his parents twice initially, then the trajectory of their wounds wouldn't have been parallel as they were. They would have been more consistent with Butch firing his rifle four times, two bullets for each of his parents from the doorway as it were. Mr. DeFeo had a wound practically in the center of his back and then another at his lower left side. HH cites that the waistband of his shorts was pulled downward as if he was pushing upward on his mattress at the time of his death. This was probably from being hit the first time. Same for Mrs. DeFeo. One bullet entered almost at the center of her back's upper right side. The blood spatter found on their headboard supports she rose up at an almost 45 degree angle when shot first and the second shot supports she was laying prone on her side of the bed.

This theory also could explain why no one had a chance to visibly react to the gunfire. He wounded everyone quickly with one shot.

Now, this theory was put together with my conversations with Msmart almost two plus years ago and further makes sense based on the way the weapon was found when retrieved from the bay. I am not as knowledgeable of the rifle's mechanics, but I remember Max mentioning to me that Butch would have needed to reload the rifle once after hitting everyone once. He would then have reloaded the weapon with more bullets. This part of the theory, I cannot cite and hopefully Max will come through and fill in this piece and anything else I may have missed from this post.
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Postby TigresMeow » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:23 pm

Butch would have needed to reload the rifle once after hitting everyone once. He would then have reloaded the weapon with more bullets.


Is it possible that after Butch shot Dawn, he grabbed bullets from his room then went back to shoot his parents again?

Your theory makes sense, Sto, but I am sure I will forget it the next time someone asks..lol.
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Postby astonio » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:27 pm

Yes, Kat. He would have grabbed the bullets, if they weren't in his pocket already, easily from his bedroom on the third floor opposite Dawn's room.

And this theory, I canNOT take credit for. It's potency in logic is credited to MSMART! 8-)
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Postby Shawn » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:25 pm

But wouldn't that suggest premeditated murder?

also, didn't butch talk about seeing his brothers foot "twitch" after he shot him?
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Postby dnddad324 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:33 pm

Hey Sto!!!

I like your and max's theory. I never thought about that Butch might have only shot Ron Sr. and Louise once and then went back later. I had been racking my brain lately about when Butch would've had to reload since the Marlin only holds six rounds.

Shawn,

I think the murders were premediated. The dirtbag would do anything for money. He robbed his on grandfather (indirectly...but it was still). He and Ron Sr. worked for Brigante. I think Butch was looking for more money and the house. Hence his original statement to the police about it being a mob kill.

As far as seeing his brother's foot twitch...Sto's and Max's theory accounts for that.
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Postby astonio » Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:13 am

Shawn wrote:But wouldn't that suggest premeditated murder?

also, didn't butch talk about seeing his brothers foot "twitch" after he shot him?


Not sure I see where you're heading with the premeditation question.

Shawn, but I don't understand the second question, either. Yes, Butch did state to the detectives he saw John's leg twitch, but this infers he was present when he fired on John. Further, it means John was shot and killed as he was found, on his stomach. Dr. Adelman stated this would have lasted a few seconds, at most.
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Postby Howard64 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:47 am

i know i may meet with some resistance with what i am about to say but i think i should bring it up.

For ages now, we have discussed and debated over how the murders could have been done. Did ronnie have help, was the mafia involved, did he act alone.

Now, open your minds...

What if...(and this is a big if) something supernatural really did happen? What if some unseen force used phantomania and semi paralyzed the Defeos as they slept?

After all, malevolent forces feed off of fear for strength. And just how scared do you think the children would have been hearing the grisly murders going on and not being able to move?

I know it seems far fetched...but its at least worth considering.
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Postby dnddad324 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:04 am

Howard64 wrote:i know i may meet with some resistance with what i am about to say but i think i should bring it up.

For ages now, we have discussed and debated over how the murders could have been done. Did ronnie have help, was the mafia involved, did he act alone.

Now, open your minds...

What if...(and this is a big if) something supernatural really did happen? What if some unseen force used phantomania and semi paralyzed the Defeos as they slept?

After all, malevolent forces feed off of fear for strength. And just how scared do you think the children would have been hearing the grisly murders going on and not being able to move?

I know it seems far fetched...but its at least worth considering.


Hey Howard!!

Your theory has crossed my mind on occasions too. Especially before I came to the Amityville sites. My problem is that it lends some creedence to the theory that Butch was under some type of paranormal influence. I would never want to see Butch to use that as a way to get released out of prison (though at this point it would depend on the parole board or some odd judge to grant him a new trial to go for that theory). Also after hearing several interviews I have no doubt in my mind that Butch is just a cold, heartless b@stard who only cares about himself and what he can get out of any given situation.

Your theory would also explain why noone in the neighborhood heard the shots. And I'm sorry, the 35 Marlin is far from a small rifle and it is not a quiet weapon by any means. I live in an area where there are a lot of woods and during hunting season you hear the occasional gun shot and you can usually judge how far away it is (plus knowing the area and they're not usually that close to any of the houses) and you can hear the shots as plain as day and a gun shot is very distinct (i'm sorry...i don't go for the 'car backfiring' or 'two 2 x 4's being slammed together' as similar sounds.

Anyways....you're not alone.
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Postby astonio » Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:53 am

With the many infinite possibilities that may exist on this planet Earth, I guess anything is possible. As for what I believe, I don't think I have ever put out there my opinion on the paranormal aspect of the murders, so here goes:

I don't have much faith or stock in the paranormal scenario as it relates to the murders. I am beginning to consider its occurrence as it relates to the Lutz' experiences, though; with a belief that what the Lutz' experienced stemmed from the tragedy of the DeFeo murders. To what degree, I cannot say at this time. As far as Butch being possessed or a presence keeping the children in their beds, I just don't think it occurred that way. Butch was troubled in his youth and the opportunity and the means of which this crime was committed, again in my opinion, were born from the incidents occuring within the couple of weeks prior to the murders. The car dealership robbery, his father questioning where Butch got this large sum of money shortly after the robbery evidenced from a return home of clothes shopping, the fight that ensued in the basement witnessed by John Donahue and John-Matthew, the fear that maybe his parents were eventually going to wipe their hands of him or turn him over to the police due to his reluctance to assist the Brooklyn detectives in the robbery which may have signaled his guilt in their eyes...all of these culminated into the actions he took that morning. He already had the means and I believe he would have considered how he would have gone about it prior to actually killing his family. He may have imagined just doing away with his father alone. He leveled personal contempt for the majority of his family members at the police station as he described his family members, with sole exception to Allison, of which I will not repeat because it's too vile to be reiterated from me. He clearly felt some threat though from his family and I don't believe the family life through Butch's stories since the murders. I believe some things, but I don't believe all because it would not serve him to state things truthfully; hence, his many stories since deflecting levels of responsibility in the crime...not much different than his deflecting his culpability in the robbery. I think the robbery's impact was downplayed and carried greater significance to his livelihood than he may have led on. Because the robbery probably had a greater impact than any of his previous rebellious behavior, in that, it affected now his grandfather's business and the perceptions of Mr. DeFeo to have to take some course of action against his son.

First Person Killers reveals much regarding how he felt about the murders since it happened and how it has affected Butch these many years later. He does regret the murders of his youngest siblings and justifies their murders with how could he explain it the next day...moreover, how would THEY have explained it the next day, cared not at all for his father, his mother would stand beside whatever decision his father felt best and his years of rivalry with Dawn enough to villify her after the fact as the one who murdered Allison, Marc and John.

Again, I am only stating my disposition on the matter because I realize after the few years of being this board's member, I have never emphatically stated my opinion of the paranormal as it specifically relates to the murders.

Aiight? :lol:
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Postby Dan the Damned » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:17 am

astonio wrote:I don't have much faith or stock in the paranormal scenario as it relates to the murders.


And even most paranormal "experts" will agree that you should first try to explore every possible normal scenario before you delve into possible paranormal ones.

astonio wrote:...the opportunity and the means of which this crime was committed, again in my opinion, were born from the incidents occuring within the couple of weeks prior to the murders. The car dealership robbery, his father questioning where Butch got this large sum of money shortly after the robbery evidenced from a return home of clothes shopping, the fight that ensued in the basement witnessed by John Donahue and John-Matthew, the fear that maybe his parents were eventually going to wipe their hands of him or turn him over to the police due to his reluctance to assist the Brooklyn detectives in the robbery which may have signaled his guilt in their eyes...all of these culminated into the actions he took that morning.


I agree. There are a lot of suspicious factors that went on around the time of the murders (suspicious, meaning possible factors in why Butch may have felt trapped in a corner with no way out, etc).

astonio wrote:I think the robbery's impact was downplayed and carried greater significance to his livelihood than he may have led on. Because the robbery probably had a greater impact than any of his previous rebellious behavior, in that, it affected now his grandfather's business and the perceptions of Mr. DeFeo to have to take some course of action against his son.


Great point.

One thought I had (which may or may not tie-in) was if Ronnie's father had previously cut him off from his "allowance" or whatever money he might have been giving to Ronnie -- possibly as a way of trying to fight Ronnie's drug use (with the thinking of "Well, if Ronnie doesn't have any money, maybe he can't get the drugs, and he'll sober up."). I admit, not the most brilliant plan to get your son off drugs, but not all parents are brilliant, and back in the 70s we didn't have the same types of solutions as we have today. Back around 75 my dad put one of my brothers in a mental hospital in an attempt to get him off drugs (my brother said he actually had easier access to drugs there than he did on the outside).

astonio wrote:He does regret the murders of his youngest siblings and justifies their murders with how could he explain it the next day...


Previously I felt the reason Ronnie was trying to plead innocent to killing the kids might have been due to the "special treatment" prisoners are said to give to child killers (and pedophiles). But maybe you have a point. Maybe Ronnie is trying to make others believe he did not kill the kids as part of a subconcious attempt at making himself believe the same.

astonio wrote:...moreover, how would THEY have explained it the next day, cared not at all for his father, his mother would stand beside whatever decision his father felt best and his years of rivalry with Dawn enough to villify her after the fact as the one who murdered Allison, Marc and John.


Are you saying here that Ronnie's plan all along was to kill everyone, and not just his father?

If so I disagree, but my theory is not necessarily better. I don't have any evidence for it. I've always felt that Ronnie killed the intended target, and was just not thinking the whole situation through in advance. So when the mother woke up (and maybe screamed) I think Ronnie panicked and killed her, too. And I think the rest of the family was killed in a similar panicked "what do I do now" state.

But again, its not like I have any evidence to back my theory up with.
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Postby astonio » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:16 pm

Dan, we're essentially on the same page. I cannot say if his intention was to kill his father solely or if the other family members were collateral. I tend to think he held strong contempt for his father and as such, Mr. DeFeo was a clear intended victim. If the other family members were collateral, how can a 23 year-old man not have the sense before hand to know that if he shoots his father, while his father is in bed next to his mother, how would this "go over" with his mother lying right next to her husband? Then consider, Butch would have loaded the rifle to full capacity; therefore, doesn't this show intention of shooting everyone in the house? Were the 5 additional bullets intended just for Mr. DeFeo?
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Postby Dan the Damned » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:27 pm

Well that's just it -- I don't think it was a plan at all. I think it was a spur of the moment irrational act. And being irrational, he wasn't thinking of ANY consequences.

Thinking about the consequences would have started (in a panic) once "Mommy" woke up and started screaming.

In a panic (possibly thinking "omg, shut up, shut up") I can see him shooting his mother, and then thinking "f*ck, what the hell have I done -- what do I do now -- they can't find out it was me who did this," and then, still semi-irrational, he figures he must kill everyone else in the house so there are no witnesses.

That's how this crime makes sense to me. If Ronnie had planned this out in advance, I think he'd try to get his father alone somewhere and do away with him far away from his family and the house.

If it were today, he'd beg his father to take him on a cruise ship...
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