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Steve Morris' Book Project on Ronnie DeFeo (and us)

Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:39 am
by Dan the Damned
Back in 2008, it was announced that author Steve Morris was working in conjunction with Tracey DeFeo on a new book about Ronnie. I'm not sure if Steve is still working on this book or not. This book project has been mentioned here and there on this board, but I'm surprised to see we didn't have a lot of details. So here they are. This is the press release Steve wrote announcing the project:

A New Book by Steve Morris
“There’s a lot of people out there who know Ronnie didn’t commit these crimes on his own…Amityville Horror, sure, there have been many horrors to do with my husband’s story”--Tracey Lynn DeFeo to the author
  • * The Most Famous Haunting the World Has Ever Known.

    * The Most Notorious ‘Familicide’ in History.

    * His Story Has Spawned More than 12 Movies -- including 2 Blockbusters and a Further MGM Sequel in the Making -- Grossing Hundreds of Millions of Dollars.

    * The Enigmatic Mass Murderer Everybody Wants to Interview For the Big Story, but Can’t -- Except For this Author!

Presenting the Case in Brief:

Something changed the course of history for the ordinarily quiet village community of Amityville, Long Island, New York, in the early morning hours of November 13, 1974, in the way only a sudden, explosive act of unseen violence can.

When it was done six were dead -- a family named DeFeo. The suspect was soon in custody and the story of that suspect, the family’s only surviving member and eldest son, Ronald ‘Butch’ DeFeo Jr, made headlines across the world. The case seemingly culminated with his conviction, followed by life imprisonment, for murdering his parents, brothers and sisters with a .35 calibre Marlin rifle.

There is more, of course.

With DeFeo safely in jail and presumably of no further threat to anybody, the Lutz family now-famously took up residence in the murder house. They quickly seized upon the bloody stain of what had gone before and ensured the story was transformed forever from the horrific case of ‘familicide’ it was in actuality, to a bewildering litany of ghostly encounters, demonic infestation, and, progressively more outlandish mayhem.

The Lutzes, with a little help, reached high, and The Amityville Horror, as it became known, transcended popular culture as the most famous “haunting” the world has ever known.

Suddenly, the incarcerated Ronald DeFeo Jr was suddently an Internationally-recognized figure of pure evil; the Devil personified, indeed, a man quite literally possessed by demons. Forget The Exorcist, here was a young man who had killed, repeatedly, allegedly at the behest of Beelzebub, a phantom witchcraft practitioner, and if this wasn’t enough, the spirit of a long dead Native-American Indian Chief, presumably also with satanic connections if the above unified had so assigned their terrible bidding.

By the time the Lutzes, and Hollywood, were done, the world understood this unfortunate individual to have been influenced by the Forces of Darkness on the night he embarked upon one of the most grisly rampages in U.S. history. And it made for an exceptional story, terrifying generations. It still does, every time a new movie or sequel or remake appears, with the original Amityville Horror film starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder as George and Kathleen Lutz, and Rod Steiger playing the part of the unforgettable fly-ravaged priest, grossing more than $86,000,000.

Frighteningly entertaining this commercial colossus certainly was and is.

It surely grasped the imagination of the world, and yet is also widely attacked as being one of the most outrageous hoaxes of all time. With future occupants of the DeFeo house on Ocean Avenue dismissing the haunting as nonsense, the general opinion among those with an interest persists that if there ever was anything supernatural that once dwelt there, it has now long since departed…

However, the restless ghosts of Amityville continue to stir, because they are in truth represented by a far more tormented and human agent, a man consigned to a prison cell for what may very well be the remainder of his days, constantly denied parole because he will not show the required level of remorse for the crimes he was convicted six times over for carrying out in cold blood.

But how can he repent when he says, and almost certainly believes, he did not commit all the crimes? How can he take responsibility for the deaths of his younger siblings, who perished that night, when he may not in fact have taken their lives?

Convicted for committing these terrible acts, we have just one man. But was this the horrible handiwork of him and him alone? Did Ronald DeFeo Jr unaided really shoot dead all of these people, as duly judged and convicted for so doing? There is compelling evidence to perhaps suggest otherwise, largely ignored, indeed, in a number of areas suppressed, for decades.

Following his arrest for murder, a psychologically battered DeFeo suffered much brutality at the hands of his police interrogators. Beaten, tortured physically and mentally, were aspects of his confessions coerced, moulded to suit, and was key evidence in the case against him manipulated to fit the already-decided-upon picture?

There was, in fact, something subterranean at work, involving dubious connections with organized crime, a shadowy patriarch, threats of trauma and death, certain prosecutorial tentacles extending beyond the facts; dishonest leverage from those with vested interests, corruption. The truth of what actually occurred would not emerge for decades -- and only then to be whispered in confidence -- now to finally be told, the first time made public in this book.

Bill of fare

The murders, the mayhem, and the man.

Investigative journalist and author, Steven Morris, is publisher of the prestigious New Criminologist online journal, the oldest and most respected criminology journal in the world. An international authority on serial, spree and mass murder, organized crime, and the psychology of the criminal mindset, he is infinitely qualified in taking up the reins of responsibility with this long overdue and uniquely fascinating book.

To produce the definitive work, a factual account far more terrifying than anything currently “on record” with this remarkable case.

The Amityville slaughter, the most infamous familicide in the annals of crime is dealt with here from an incredible perspective -- and with the full cooperation of the subject himself in tandem with his exceptionally loyal, truth-seeking wife.

Ronald DeFeo Jr has been incarcerated for 33 years. He has spent this inordinate amount of time holding onto a far more sinister truth than that commonly perceived.

The author now steps into this mysterious and controversial realm and takes a much-needed, entirely fresh look at the DeFeo homicides, examining a mass of newly discovered evidence including that which physically suggests Ronnie’s sister Dawn, one of those murdered that night, may have played a role in the killings.

At approximately 110,000 words, the author has undertaken an unprecedented approach to one of the most gruesome and gripping mysteries in the criminal, and the supernatural, syllabus. Chapter by comprehensive chapter, the reader is catered for with a full history of events, people, places and deeds, positively bursting with brand new, sensational, never before made public revelations.

The book will cover everything to do with the case; the extensive history of the house, the land on which it was built and moved, the colourful DeFeo family and its roots, the murders, the alleged haunting (as we know, the most famous in history), DeFeo’s three decades-plus spent in prison, his intimate relationships, mafia associations, and much more.

DeFeo Interview(s)

As part of his extensive research into this work, the author will travel to New York for a televised interview held at Green Haven Correctional Facility with DeFeo Jr -- with whom he has corresponded –– and his wife, Tracey, and is currently in the final stages of close negotiations with a highly respected TV production company, and a major broadcaster.

This interview, or interviews, will be absolutely unique, with Ronnie DeFeo, who trusts the author implicitly, revealing many incredible details about his life and crimes, his marriages, his family, the often turbulent, sometimes life-threatening, years he has passed in incarceration, the rampant exploitation of him, the mob, corruption, his thoughts on the haunting, his marriage to his adoring wife.

The Definitive Amityville Work

Apart from the vast amount of previously unpublished material on this fascinating and eminently bankable case, what makes this book particularly exclusive is that the author has secured the full cooperation of Ronald DeFeo Jr himself, along with a huge list of people involved in the story, all making themselves available for interview, many of whom have never before spoken publicly. This is truly a milestone work, monumental not just in scope, but with so much previously undocumented and highly salient insider material.

This is the only author privileged with such complete access.

A massive story, never before properly and exhaustively treated, with all the movies and hugely commercially successful written accounts, responsible for making The Amityville Horror and the DeFeo murders infamous, but offering no real explanation as to why and what really happened, and none of it extensively covering Ronnie’s montrous notoriety and the effects of this upon his remaining family and friends, his fascinating experiences stemming from his many years in some of New York’s toughest jails, his exceptionally acute survival mechanisms.

In interviewing the pivotal players in the case, with an extensive list of essential contacts at his full disposal, only now can the ultimate book on the true Amityville Horror, and how this translates within the context of the ever-financially marketable Amityville legend, be told.

‘Ronnie’ is an often shocking, painstakingly honed and well-balanced must-read. A complete and just reference, the author spares no pocket of interest, revealing all the deeds and misdeeds, the incentives and motivations, of the most crucial cast of characters in the saga, at once exploding the many myths which surround the case.

The reader is placed squarely inside the mind of Ronald DeFeo Jr, will frequently contemplate this grimly intriguing man’s own words, be given a first-hand glimpse of the enduring and staunch support network provided by his devoted wife, Tracey, and how the power of the internet has allowed her to keep thousands of Amityville aficionados factually informed in her quest for truth and justice, supported in many cases with firm evidence posted directly on her web site.

Ronnie is not only for those with a passing interest in the blacker side of human nature, nor only explosive, much-yearned-for fodder for fans of true crime literature, tales of the paranormal and genre movies alike, but a book of genuine interest to those who demand a true story be told with true dimension, no matter how unpalatable and sobering this may prove.

It is for those who wish to know what really happened, at the risk of having one of their favourite and firmly established bogeymen cast in a different light, and one that now shines on others just as brightly. And, for the first time ever, the author guides the reader through the lasting symbiosis of Ronald and Tracey DeFeo, exploring how his life was before he met and married her, and how it is today, all with unprecedented exclusivity and candour on the part of the DeFeos themselves.

The author has spent many months relentlessly researching and investigating for this most fascinating of stories and though a family are slaughtered and dead, that family’s eldest son in prison convicted of murdering them all, it is a story far from concluded.

Behind all the tales of ghosts and evil, there lies a bleak truth far more disturbing -- never before revealed.

The author finally throws wide the door to the secret world of Ronald DeFeo Jr. It is assuredly a world where others have not been, nor can go, largely due to the subject’s own notorious iron-clad resistance to potential exploitation from the steady stream of the unscrupulous he has encountered over the years. Only now, in placing his complete trust in Steven Morris, will he agree to tell his full story, the truth as he sees it, and maybe, finally, the truth as it is.

Having gained Ronnie DeFeo’s trust -- thanks largely to his doting wife, without who’s cooperation a book of this magnitude could never be written -- the author has secured access to exceptionally raw materials, meticulously collated from dozens of first hand witnesses and key players ranging from former police and clergy to family members, friends -- and one or two very discreet private investigators.

This book has it all; an illuminating and carefully crafted background of the subject, built around extensive interviews with all the major players still alive today, and deals with sensitivity and compassion where required, with the indelible love story of Ronnie and Tracey DeFeo and their supreme mission to educate the world about the truth behind the Amityville legacy.

And, as if it needed re-enforcing, this is one of the biggest genre stories on the books. A True Crime Publishing dream! All to be made into a major TV project featuring the aboved totally exclusive on-camera interview(s) very soon!

  • Foreword


    Chapter 1: Green Haven

    Chapter 2: November 13, 1974

    Chapter 3: Ronald DeFeo Jr – Guest of Suffolk County Police.

    Chapter 4: Keep Your Mouth Shut

    Chapter 5: New York City Story

    Chapter 6: A Pair of Black Hands

    Chapter 7: The Court of Judge Stark

    Chapter 8: Football with the Chief?

    Chapter 9: The House on Ocean Avenue

    Chapter 10: Amityville with Several Bottles of Red: The Lutz Phenomenon

    Chapter 11: Demonic Power Play

    Chapter 12: Dannemora

    Chapter 13: Growing up Brooklyn

    Chapter 14: A New Home

    Chapter 15: Uncle Pete and the Genovese Crime Family

    Chapter 16: Showtime

    Chapter 17: A Real Amityville Curse

    Chapter 18: All Aboard the Gravy Train!

    Chapter 19: Armchair Sleuths

    Chapter 20: Tracey

    Chapter 21: Amityville Truth?

    Chapter 22: Babes in the Woods: Surviving the Flames

    Chapter 23: Injustices and a Night Dress

    Chapter 24: The P.I

    Chapter 25: “This Merits Further Investigation”

    Chapter 26: Meet Ronnie

    Chapter 27: Back in Green Haven

    Chapter 28: The World Outside

    Chapter: 29: I Love My Husband

    Chapter 30: The Parole Question


Steve Morris is editor of
The New Criminologist,
a documentary true crime
consultant and TV researcher.
An international authority on
the study of serial murder and
sex crime, he is author of
several books and related

Seems like chapters 19 & 21 will be all about us! :clap:

Again, not sure if this book is still in the works or not...

Re: Steve Morris' Book Project on Ronnie DeFeo

Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:16 am
by BillyCigars
The chapter titles remind me of the answers that Johnny Carson as "Carnac The Magnificent" would "divine" from the questions in the envelopes.

Re: Steve Morris' Book Project on Ronnie DeFeo

Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:10 am
by Dutchcolonial
I miss Carson. Carnac was always good for a laugh at silliness. At least he had cue cards, though.

Tracey just ran her mouth before thinking which, all in all, is not necessarily a bad thing---but after proclaiming that she had consequential evidence in the case and a mastery of knowledge of that evidence is certainly at the least anti-climactic. As for her later claims that she had proof which she was now choosing not to put forth (why didn't she show it if she had it earlier???) under the rationale that hoarding it would "punish" the nay-sayers........well, that's just an ignorant country girl caught in the middle of a lie from which an abortion will not extricate her.

An example of her "proof" (in this case an example of her mastery of forensic evidence): ... ?f=10&t=48

In the end, Tracey and her "proof" are unconsequential. Let's move on.

Re: Steve Morris' Book Project on Ronnie DeFeo

Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:56 am
by Dan the Damned
True, Tracey's "proof" is a bit silly, ranging from the absurd (as shown in your link) to the nonexistent ("I'll show my evidence when the time is right"). And it seems pretty obvious she was just passing along whatever BS Ronnie told her.

But I'm still interested in reading Morris' book, if only to read what is said about us and our investigations. For example, can they come back and refute the excellent evidence given by Max in that link you posted? And would their counter-evidence be strong or just laughable? And will Morris share Tracey's feelings about us and this board, or will he be doing his own investigations of everything?

Yeah, we all know what Tracey would say, but how much of this book would be Morris just typing up Tracey's words and how much will be Morris' own investigation into the matter?

Re: Steve Morris' Book Project on Ronnie DeFeo

Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:51 am
by sherbetbizarre
I would imagine the divorce has killed this book.

Re: Steve Morris' Book Project on Ronnie DeFeo

Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:18 pm
by Dan the Damned
I'm thinking the same, Sherb. But then again, Steve just might carry on with the book project on his own, with or without the DeFeo's 'seal of approval'. I guess it depends how much time he's devoted to it so far and if he has other projects going on as well...

Re: Steve Morris' Book Project on Ronnie DeFeo

Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:33 pm
by Shawn
sherbetbizarre wrote:I would imagine the divorce has killed this book.

You would think, right? But get this....I wonder if Tracey will now spill it all that she has claimed to of known in the past now that he is tossing her out. Now's the time for her to prove whether she is a pathological liar or not....It's not like she has a loyalty to him now, right?

Re: Steve Morris' Book Project on Ronnie DeFeo

Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:35 pm
by Shawn
Shawn wrote:
sherbetbizarre wrote:I would imagine the divorce has killed this book.

You would think, right? But get this....I wonder if Tracey will now spill it all that she has claimed to of known in the past now that he is tossing her out. Now's the time for her to prove whether she is a pathological liar or not....It's not like she has a loyalty to him now, right?

BTW, her silence will be the proof enough for me how pathological she really is.