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The Serial Killers

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:08 am
by Dan the Damned
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.

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:32 am
by vampy1978
wow dan. thanks for that post. i like learning more about this stuff.

i had goose bumps reading that. his detail of how he killed everyone.

dawn getting up. that makes sense cant imagin no one waking up to a rifle.

being a kid i could understand hiding in the bed. i dunno i hope they were asleep and didnt know what happend to them. poor dawn. i cant imagin my brother turning a gun on me.

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 2:22 am
by TheVampireologist
great info Dan!

I find the murder scenario a complete joke though that Defeo offered.
Main reason would have to be four back to back (no pun here) shots fired at his parents from a hunting rifle and nobody wakes up on the second floor?

seven shots total up to this point and his sister finally comes down from upstairs (3rd fllor) to ask "whats going on?".He's obviously stoned on drugs and she simply accepts his excuse of "oh nothing" and heads up back to bed with her back to him?

Where can one obtain a copy of the TV special of the Warrens investigation in its entirety from the house in the mid 70's?

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 10:12 am
by Dan the Damned
Yes, the footage from the Warrens investigation would be great to see. You'd think it still exists somewhere. Maybe one of these days we'll see it...


Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 7:39 pm
by AmityvillePI

I remember seeing an ad for that somewhere and it showed a quote from Ronald DeFeo swearing at Christopher Berry Dee for being late, at the very beginning? It didn't sound like the interview got off to a great start.

Berry Dee seems like a tough old investigator.

I was always wondering about this Barry Springer dude. He supposedly called Lou Gentile and tried to threaten him into posting an archive of Ric Osuna, when all of that hassel was going on about Osuna. There was alot of controversy about Osuna and his book back then.


Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 8:06 pm
by Dan the Damned
Truthfully, I've heard Barry Springer's name dropped here and there, but I know next to nothing about the guy. And he doesn't really say much in this documentary - he pretty much just says, "I can't see Ronnie killing his whole family."

And the stuff about Christopher Berry Dee being late for the DeFeo interview - I also saw that on Chris' site. I don't know why he displays it so proudly on his site, like its supposed to mean something. Kinda weird...

barry springer

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 8:57 pm
by AmityvillePI
Interesting Dan.

Yea, it just seemed like Ronnie gave him such a great introduction. Something to the effect of, I'm not waiting around for you. As if Ronnie had anything better to do.

I guess he was one of Ronald's best friends growing up.

The Serial Killers

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 9:27 am
by msmart112
Now available at Amazon... ... B0009OL8GM

The DeFeo segment can also be purchased separately here...

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 2:27 pm
by zzvampy
The bottom link you posted Max, isn't that the Berry-Dee interview?

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 2:45 pm
by msmart112
Actually, both links contain the Berry-Dee interview. The top link is the box set (all thirteen of the Serial Killers episodes), and the bottom link is a site where each epiosde can be purchased individually.

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 8:25 pm
by zzvampy
So, I take it Ronnie granted the necessary permissions for the sale of said interview/s since he allegedly owns the copyright?

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 8:54 pm
by Dan the Damned
Yeah, I rented this from Netflix. It was a pretty good documentary. Here is a short writeup I did on it: ... .php?t=629

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 9:19 pm
by msmart112
zzvampy wrote:So, I take it Ronnie granted the necessary permissions for the sale of said interview/s since he allegedly owns the copyright?
Wait...Ronnie allegedly owns the copyright?

That's odd! Back in spring of 2005, some guy on the old AT going by Jerryski claimed that HE held the copyright!

Yet...I've also read where Mainline Television holds the copyright!

I've got an idea Z! Why don't you upload the interview to your website...and then make a dislaimer that EVERYTHING on your website is owned by you!

That would settle it! :P

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 9:26 pm
by Dan the Damned
Too late! You guys already mentioned the DVD here on this board, so now the rights to the whole "Serial Killers" series belongs to Sherb and I...

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 9:31 pm
by msmart112

I hate when that happens!

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 10:22 am
by Howard64
I think if you want retribution for this infraction, you had best call the FBI, Interpol and MI6...

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 10:51 am
by Dan the Damned
Oh, Howard - that's already been done! I've already taken steps with an attorney regarding this, and Mainline Television is working on the issue. These people have NO idea what they're facing... :twisted:

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 11:19 am
by Howard64

the rack????

What torture could possibly make those feel they have wronged you in such a fashion as to make them repent?!?!?!

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 11:31 am
by Dan the Damned
I plan to sick Crazy Alice on 'em!

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 9:02 pm
by radiomixer
Dan, my thanks to you and Max for alerting me to this special, which I intend to see if possible.

I just wanted to add an update about RJD's (by all accounts) "best friend" Barry Springer.

The posts on this thread are from roughly a year ago.

Since then, many of us have seen the A&E show "First Person Killers," which featured an hour-long segment on Ronald DeFeo.

Now, I'll be paraphrasing this, so I welcome correction on it.


In this, the most recent interview on DeFeo, Barry Springer was included. His statements were most revealing indeed. He said something to this effect: that he told Ronnie not to tell him any more versions of what happened the night of the murders because 'there are 3000 versions out there and you [RJDeFeo] told me at least 2500 of them.' That paraphrasing may be off a little bit -- but Barry made it clear in his statement that whether Ronnie was still his "best friend" or not, Springer had long since stopped believing in the umpteen versions of that night that DeFeo keeps coming up with ...

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 11:01 pm
by Dan the Damned
Yup - Barry pretty much called Ronnie a liar. And when your best friend goes on television and announces you are a liar... :roll:

But regarding this show, yeah, do watch it. If you don't wanna buy it, rent if from Netflix...