The Sober Truth Behind The Amityville Horror

Paranormal researchers — if they are prudent — trust little of what’s heard, and nearly nothing of what is read. Sensational stories, one finds, particularly of the supernatural sort, are catnip for a media often geared more to profit than truth.

Such was the case with Amityville.

The evolution of this infamous story traces back to November 13th, 1974: Ronald De Feo, the Long Island son of a prosperous car dealer, fired eight shots from a.35 caliber rifle, killing his mother, father, two brothers and two sisters as they lay sleeping in their spacious, three-story Dutch Colonial home.

News of the murders sent ripples of anxiety through the normally placid town, lifting the floodgates of speculation. Unexplainable wax drippings –leading a trail between rooms in the house — evoked dark murmurs of Satanic ritual and sacrifice. Others pondered the mystery of how De Feo managed to commit each of the six murders without arousing his victims from sleep, asking why no one in the neighborhood had heard gunshots, and why all six victims were found lying face-down in death.

As Amityville’s gossip mill ground overtime, prosecutors in the case hunted for a motive. They did not need to look far. Abundant evidence showed De Feo harbored a deep-seated malice for his family along with a “thirst for money”: prosecutors cinched their supposition of robbery with the discovery of a $200, 000 life insurance policy and an empty cash strongbox found hidden beneath the saddle of a closet in the family’s master bedroom.

At first protesting his innocence, De Feo finally broke down and confessed. “It all started so fast,” he told police. “Once I started, I just couldn’t stop.” He mentioned he had heard “voices” just prior to the murders and upon looking around saw no one there, and assumed “God was speaking to him”. William Weber, De Feo’s attorney, pushed for an insanity plea, but lost. On December 4, 1975, De Feo was sentenced to twenty-five years to life on each of the six counts of second-degree murder for which he had been convicted.
Many residents expected that with De Feo’s conviction the ugly fog of sensationalism which descended upon Amityville would at last begin to disperse.
The Sober Truth Behind The Amityville Horror

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