This was brought up on the old board - a recent DVD release of a British TV show called "The Serial Killers." Disc 2 (of the 3-disc set) contains a nice 30-minute episode on the DeFeo murders.
On the old thread, there was some confusion as to whether this had aired on American television under another name. I was thinking it was an episode of "History's Crimes and Mysteries," but I rented it from Netflix, anyway - just to be sure. Turns out it wasn't run under the "Crimes and Mysteries" banner, but apparently this series ran on The Learning Channel a while back. Well I've never seen it before, and I'm thinking a bunch of you guys haven't, either.
The show is called "The Serial Killers," and Christopher Berry-Dee was the "researcher and principal interviewer." This episode includes interviews with Ronnie DeFeo, his friend Barry Springer, Michael Ahearn (D.A.), Thomas M. Stark (judge), and even Hanz Holzer.
Here are some highlights:
Ronnie talks about his family: "We were really a close family, ya know. And, uh, it's a shame what happened, but it happened." He also talks about using heroin and his heavy alcohol usage.
Barry Springer talks about Ronnie's father being violent.
Detective Dennis Rafferty: "Ronnie DeFeo told us how he went to his parents' bedroom. They were both sleeping, and he fired his 35 Marlin into their backs. He then left that room, went to his sister Allison, I believe, and shot her; then he went into his two brothers' and shot them as they slept in the same room. He told me that he could see his one brother's foot twitchin' after he had shot him. We had asked him if anyone had awakened during all of this, and, uh, he told us that his sister Dawn was awake, and she was coming down the stairs, and she was asking what was going on. He told her everything was okay - to go back to bed - and she complied. At which time he continued up the stairs and he fired the gun into the back of her, killing her."
Ronnie DeFeo: "Dawn had grabbed the rifle, and, uh, I took the rifle away from her, and we got into a wrestlin' match. I was pretty hyped-up, and I picked her up, and I threw her down and she got back up; then she got back up and I picked her up now, and I grabbed her and I threw her. And when I threw her she landed on the bed. When she landed on the bed, I grabbed the rifle off the floor. And I was really, uh, really, really out of it - mentally out of it, ya know. I remember the lever on the rifle, I hit the lever on the rifle - a live round of ammunition jumped out of the rifle - ya know, ejected from the rifle. And when it ejected, ya know, another one went in, and she was flat on the bed trying to get up, and I shot her. I thought I had shot her in the neck, but I had shot her in the head. And then when I realized what I did, ya know, I said "My God," ya know, because it happened so fast that I never even knew what I did."
Ronnie DeFeo: "After what happened, ya know, it was like a nightmare. I'm lookin' at my mother and father dead, my sister, I said, "My God." I got scared, I ran out of the house. Ran down the street, uh - ran out of the house, jumped in my car, ran down the street, and got my friends and came back to the house. We all - they all went into the house - I stood outside there."
Judge Thomas M Stark: "About halfway through his direct examination, his attorney, Mr Weber, asked him point blank, 'Ronnie, did you kill your father,' and Ronnie answered, 'yes sir, I killed them all, and I killed them before they could kill me.' Well, of course, at that point in the trial we now had a judicial admission of guilt, so the issue as to whether or not he was the person who did this is now moot."
Judge Thomas M Stark: "The defendant testified that during the killings, the dog was howling. And the attitude of the jurors was, "well, if he heard the dog howling, why didn't he hear the shots?" So it was pretty well established that he was entirely fabricating and faking the insanity defence..."
Some info about the show:
Christopher Berry-Dee complains on his web site: "During the filming of the TV series, over which I had no editorial control, it came a deep shock to eventually learn that many of my interviewees had had their statements manipulated to show guilt when this was most certainly not the case. Douglas Clark and Ronald DeFeo Jr suffered at the hands of the editor, as did William Heirens. I have always believed that Clark was railroaded by police, most certainly DeFeo's words were misappropriated, and I always believed Bill Heirens to be innocent. Tis a wonder that these men have not sued the film production company, especially when Clark's life hangs in the balance."
I found some more info from this other site
In June 1994, because of his expertise and experience within the American criminal justice system, Judge Stuart Namm entered into a contract with Mainline Television Limited of Crawley, West Sussex, England, to serve as their United States Judicial Consultant, Writer and Interviewer for a distinguished television documentary series on thirteen of the most highly publicized American homicide cases. The series entitled "The Serial Killers" was produced by Frazer Ashford, the Managing Director of Mainline, and jointly researched and written by the English author and criminologist, Christopher Berry-Dee, and Judge Namm. The series has aired all over the world and on The Learning Channel in the United States.