Daniel Lutz

Part two of a special two-part Saturday Night Shocker: The Amityville Horror

On November 13th, 1974, Butch DeFeo arrived Henry’s Bar, saying he was locked out of his house and couldn’t get back in or get in touch with anyone in his family. He and several friends went back to the house and Butch broke a window to get inside. He found his parents and younger brothers and sisters all shot to death in their beds.
The authorities arrived. The bodies were taken away and the police tried to console the distraught Butch. He said he would do anything he could to help and speculated that he thought a man named Louis Falini was responsible. Butch said Falini, who supposedly had ties to the mob, had a falling out with Ronald and was heard threatening the DeFeo family. Butch went to the police station, mostly for his own protection, while the police continued to analyze the crime scene. The longer Butch was questioned, the more inconsistencies crept up in his story. Finally, he confessed to killing his family.
Fair use doctrine.
Eric Walter (Inset: Danny Lutz)
Then Butch started changing his story. He said that Louis Falini and others came into the house and made him watch as they shot his family. After that, he said he and some friends, including Bobby Kelske, had been caught by Ronald searching for his stash of money. One of Butch’s friends shot his father and then killed the rest of the family to cover it up. Another version of the story had Butch and Dawn planning to kill the family together. Butch shot Ronald and Dawn shot Louise; Butch left the house, came back to find that Dawn had killed the children and he killed her in a fit of rage. Butch’s relatives also tried to intervene, saying the confession had been coerced by police brutality and that his rights had been violated when he was denied the legal counsel of a family friend who was a lawyer.
Butch DeFeo’s trial for the murder of his six family members began in October of 1975. His lawyer, William Weber, tenaciously pursued an insanity defense. He claimed Butch heard voices and that those voices eventually made him kill his family, even manifesting as a pair of black hands that gave him the gun. Howard Zolan, the psychiatrist who examined Butch, claimed that he had an antisocial personality disorder but did know what he was doing and was legally competent. There was also testimony from cellmates and guards where Butch was being held who heard him say he killed his family and say that he knew how to feign insanity well enough to be acquitted.
Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. was found guilty of six counts of murder on November 21st, 1975. He was sentenced to life in prison.
After the loss in court, William Weber contacted acquaintances George and Kathy Lutz. They had a few glasses of wine and discussed things like the Lutz’s interest in the occult and transcendental meditation. They concocted a plan that started when the couple bought the DeFeo house and has never really ended.
After they fled the house, George and Kathy Lutz contacted Laura Didio, a reporter from a local news station, with their story and she put them in touch with paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens did a walk-through of the house with several people from a psychical research institute and claimed to feel negative supernatural energies due to the property’s history. They said the land had been used by the Shinnecock Indians as an asylum for their ill and insane. The house had also been owned by a man named John Ketchum, a practicing warlock who fled persecution in the Salem Witch Trials. The Warrens alleged that Butch practiced black magic, which may have turned him into a conduit for the spirits that possessed him and made him murder his family. Butch backs up the claims in his letters to Long Island-based medium Jackie Barrett, mentioning that he attended more than one black mass when he was a teenager.
George and Kathy contacted author Jay Anson, who turned their story into his book The Amityville Horror. The book and subsequent movie, starring Jame Brolin and Margot Kidder, were wildly successful. As William Weber had hoped, his plan did generate some attention for Butch but didn’t get his sentence reexamined and he couldn’t even profit from the media franchise. Instead of monetary compensation, Butch had notoriety inside prison as well as outside. He wrote to Jackie Barrett that he fought off an attack from the “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz when he and Berkowitz were in the same correctional facility and that he was also approached by people who bribed him to kill Berkowitz.
He was interviewed by renowned paranormal researcher Hans Holzer. Holzer reiterated the Warren’s story about possession and spirits of Native Americans tied to the property. He wrote a book based on the DeFeo family and their murder, the basis for the movie Amityville 2: The Possession. Holzer’s book was a fairly accurate portrayal of the malicious and domineering father and subservient mother who couldn’t remove her children from the abusive environment. He even included the incident where Butch pointed a rifle to his father’s head to make him stop beating his mother. Holzer took a huge liberty with the story, however, when he added the element of incest between the two oldest siblings. Butch has said his sister was his co-conspirator or that she committed some of the murders on her own but insists that they never had an incestuous relationship.
The Lutzes didn’t deny any of what they said happened to them in the house, despite William Weber’s claim that it was a story they fabricated together. The Lutzes sued Weber, as well as Paul Hoffman, who was originally going to write the book about the haunting, and others for invasion of privacy and mental distress. The claims were all dismissed for lack of evidence but George and Kathy never wavered in their accounts of things like unexplained loud noises and doors being ripped off the hinges. Neighbors report never hearing the noises George mentioned and the next owners of the house, the Cromartys, said that all of the doors had their original hardware and they never encountered anything supernatural. Nevertheless, George and Kathy Lutz believed their story so strongly they were able to take polygraph tests that showed no evidence of lying. Despite telling Laura Didio that he “didn’t want publicity,” George Lutz would introduce himself as “the Amityville guy.” George and Kathy went on a year-long promotional tour and left Danny in a monastery school where, in his 2012 documentary My Amityville Horror, Danny says the priests tried to perform exorcisms on him because they thought he was possessed by evil spirits.
Daniel Lutz comes off as abrasive and troubled. The documentary shows him going to therapy but being defensive when talking to his therapist. Her asks her about the most traumatic thing she’s ever experienced to gauge whether she can understand what he has been through. He insists that everything happened just as it did in his parents’ book.
Daniel’s dislike of George Lutz is evident whenever he mentions his stepfather. The strained family relationships didn’t withstand the publicity of the Amityville horror; Danny left home in his teens and George and Kathy divorced in the early 80s, which he says was the best thing his mother ever did. Daniel’s siblings declined to be interviewed and he doesn’t mention them. Despite the turbulence the claims of the haunting brought to his childhood, he interacts amiably with Laura Didio and Lorraine Warren when filmed with them in the documentary. Lorraine suggests leading Daniel and the film crew in a prayer over religious artifact she has on a necklace. Daniel beholds the article reverently but reacts with hostility upon finding out that one of the crew members present isn’t actually a believer. At the end of the documentary, the director asks if Daniel was ever approached about taking a lie detector test. He says, angrily and indignantly, that many people have suggested that but doesn’t say if he took one. The implication is that, unlike his parents, he doesn’t know if he would pass a polygraph.
The story of “America’s most famous haunting” is built on a foundation of lies and omissions of truth. The specters were abusive and selfish parents. The witnesses are people with reputations to protect. The restless spirits are the memories of the deceased and the troubled people still struggling with the legacy of 112 Ocean Avenue.
Fair use doctrine.
Ronald Joseph “Butch” DeFeo Jr.
SATURDAY NIGHT SHOCKER: The Amityville Horror, Part 2

SATURDAY NIGHT SHOCKER: The Amityville Horror, Part 2

Part two of a special two-part Saturday Night Shocker: The Amityville Horror

On November 13th, 1974, Butch DeFeo arrived Henry's Bar, saying he was locked out of his house and couldn't get back in or get in touch with anyone in his family. He and several friends went back to the house and Butch broke a window to get inside. He found his parents and younger brothers and sisters all shot to death in their beds.
The authorities arrived. The bodies were taken away and the police tried to console the distraught Butch. He said he would do anything he could to help and speculated that he thought a man named Louis Falini was responsible. Butch said Falini, who supposedly had ties to the mob, had a falling out with Ronald and was heard threatening the DeFeo family. Butch went to the police station, mostly for his own protection, while the police continued to analyze the crime scene. The longer Butch was questioned, the more inconsistencies crept up in his story. Finally, he confessed to killing his family.
Fair use doctrine.
Eric Walter (Inset: Danny Lutz)
Then Butch started changing his story. He said that Louis Falini and others came into the house and made him watch as they shot his family. After that, he said he and some friends, including Bobby Kelske, had been caught by Ronald searching for his stash of money. One of Butch's friends shot his father and then killed the rest of the family to cover it up. Another version of the story had Butch and Dawn planning to kill the family together. Butch shot Ronald and Dawn shot Louise; Butch left the house, came back to find that Dawn had killed the children and he killed her in a fit of rage. Butch's relatives also tried to intervene, saying the confession had been coerced by police brutality and that his rights had been violated when he was denied the legal counsel of a family friend who was a lawyer.
Butch DeFeo's trial for the murder of his six family members began in October of 1975. His lawyer, William Weber, tenaciously pursued an insanity defense. He claimed Butch heard voices and that those voices eventually made him kill his family, even manifesting as a pair of black hands that gave him the gun. Howard Zolan, the psychiatrist who examined Butch, claimed that he had an antisocial personality disorder but did know what he was doing and was legally competent. There was also testimony from cellmates and guards where Butch was being held who heard him say he killed his family and say that he knew how to feign insanity well enough to be acquitted.
Ronald "Butch" DeFeo Jr. was found guilty of six counts of murder on November 21st, 1975. He was sentenced to life in prison.
After the loss in court, William Weber contacted acquaintances George and Kathy Lutz. They had a few glasses of wine and discussed things like the Lutz's interest in the occult and transcendental meditation. They concocted a plan that started when the couple bought the DeFeo house and has never really ended.
After they fled the house, George and Kathy Lutz contacted Laura Didio, a reporter from a local news station, with their story and she put them in touch with paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens did a walk-through of the house with several people from a psychical research institute and claimed to feel negative supernatural energies due to the property's history. They said the land had been used by the Shinnecock Indians as an asylum for their ill and insane. The house had also been owned by a man named John Ketchum, a practicing warlock who fled persecution in the Salem Witch Trials. The Warrens alleged that Butch practiced black magic, which may have turned him into a conduit for the spirits that possessed him and made him murder his family. Butch backs up the claims in his letters to Long Island-based medium Jackie Barrett, mentioning that he attended more than one black mass when he was a teenager.
George and Kathy contacted author Jay Anson, who turned their story into his book The Amityville Horror. The book and subsequent movie, starring Jame Brolin and Margot Kidder, were wildly successful. As William Weber had hoped, his plan did generate some attention for Butch but didn't get his sentence reexamined and he couldn't even profit from the media franchise. Instead of monetary compensation, Butch had notoriety inside prison as well as outside. He wrote to Jackie Barrett that he fought off an attack from the "Son of Sam" killer David Berkowitz when he and Berkowitz were in the same correctional facility and that he was also approached by people who bribed him to kill Berkowitz.
He was interviewed by renowned paranormal researcher Hans Holzer. Holzer reiterated the Warren's story about possession and spirits of Native Americans tied to the property. He wrote a book based on the DeFeo family and their murder, the basis for the movie Amityville 2: The Possession. Holzer's book was a fairly accurate portrayal of the malicious and domineering father and subservient mother who couldn't remove her children from the abusive environment. He even included the incident where Butch pointed a rifle to his father's head to make him stop beating his mother. Holzer took a huge liberty with the story, however, when he added the element of incest between the two oldest siblings. Butch has said his sister was his co-conspirator or that she committed some of the murders on her own but insists that they never had an incestuous relationship.
The Lutzes didn't deny any of what they said happened to them in the house, despite William Weber's claim that it was a story they fabricated together. The Lutzes sued Weber, as well as Paul Hoffman, who was originally going to write the book about the haunting, and others for invasion of privacy and mental distress. The claims were all dismissed for lack of evidence but George and Kathy never wavered in their accounts of things like unexplained loud noises and doors being ripped off the hinges. Neighbors report never hearing the noises George mentioned and the next owners of the house, the Cromartys, said that all of the doors had their original hardware and they never encountered anything supernatural. Nevertheless, George and Kathy Lutz believed their story so strongly they were able to take polygraph tests that showed no evidence of lying. Despite telling Laura Didio that he "didn't want publicity," George Lutz would introduce himself as "the Amityville guy." George and Kathy went on a year-long promotional tour and left Danny in a monastery school where, in his 2012 documentary My Amityville Horror, Danny says the priests tried to perform exorcisms on him because they thought he was possessed by evil spirits.
Daniel Lutz comes off as abrasive and troubled. The documentary shows him going to therapy but being defensive when talking to his therapist. Her asks her about the most traumatic thing she's ever experienced to gauge whether she can understand what he has been through. He insists that everything happened just as it did in his parents' book.
Daniel's dislike of George Lutz is evident whenever he mentions his stepfather. The strained family relationships didn't withstand the publicity of the Amityville horror; Danny left home in his teens and George and Kathy divorced in the early 80s, which he says was the best thing his mother ever did. Daniel's siblings declined to be interviewed and he doesn't mention them. Despite the turbulence the claims of the haunting brought to his childhood, he interacts amiably with Laura Didio and Lorraine Warren when filmed with them in the documentary. Lorraine suggests leading Daniel and the film crew in a prayer over religious artifact she has on a necklace. Daniel beholds the article reverently but reacts with hostility upon finding out that one of the crew members present isn't actually a believer. At the end of the documentary, the director asks if Daniel was ever approached about taking a lie detector test. He says, angrily and indignantly, that many people have suggested that but doesn't say if he took one. The implication is that, unlike his parents, he doesn't know if he would pass a polygraph.
The story of "America's most famous haunting" is built on a foundation of lies and omissions of truth. The specters were abusive and selfish parents. The witnesses are people with reputations to protect. The restless spirits are the memories of the deceased and the troubled people still struggling with the legacy of 112 Ocean Avenue.
Fair use doctrine.
Ronald Joseph "Butch" DeFeo Jr.
Posted by Laura D. James in BRUTAL REALITY, PARANORMAL, 0 comments
SATURDAY NIGHT SHOCKER: The Amityville Horror, Part 1

SATURDAY NIGHT SHOCKER: The Amityville Horror, Part 1

Part one of a special two-part Saturday Night Shocker: The Amityville Horror

On a December day in 1975, the Lutz family arrives at their new home: 112 Ocean Avenue on the South Shore of Long Island.
Before they start moving in, the mother, Kathleen, tells her three children that the previous owners were murdered in the house. She asks if living there will bother them. Nine year-old Danny, who is the oldest, can barely grasp the concept of murders or death. He isn't unfamiliar with threatening or sinister concepts, however; his stepfather, George, has bookshelves full of books on hypnosis, the occult, and something called “transcendental meditation”.
Danny trusts his mother and knows she wouldn't let anything bad happen to them. This house will be a fun new adventure. It's right on the water and there's a boathouse and even a pool. He tries to think of an exciting future instead of stories of a spooky past.
He looks at the huge house and wonders which room will be his; maybe one of the rooms with the funny windows.
The windows look like eyes.
Ten years before, another family moved into the house optimistic for a fresh start.
Ronald and Louise DeFeo had a turbulent marriage. Fed up with Ronald's infidelity and beatings, Louise had briefly moved out of their Brooklyn apartment with their four children, Ronald Jr. (“Butch”), Dawn, Allison, and Mark. Upon her return, Ronald bought the opulent three-story Dutch-Colonial in the affluent community of Amityville. Soon after, they had a fifth child, John.
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DeFeo family portraits
Ronald was the service manager at his father-in-law's car dealership and, while it wasn't the most prosperous position, money was somehow never a problem. The house was lavishly decorated. Louise didn't work and Butch lost jobs frequently but wasn't concerned with money since his father supplied him with a generous allowance. Ronald commissioned portraits done of the family: one of him pouring a glass of wine for Butch, one of Dawn and Allison reading from a picture book, one of Marc and John by a lake backdrop, and one of Louise posed regally by herself, recalling the modeling she had done before her marriage. There was also a portrait of Louise's father, Micheal Brigante, the unquestioned benefactor of the family's wealth. Micheal Brigante was a childhood friend of Carlo Gambino and the dealership was allegedly a front for Gambino's criminal activity such as money laundering and disposal of weapons. Ronald had a hiding place for money and the dealerships books under the floor of his closet.
The problems the family had hoped to escape just flourished in their new setting. Ronald had girlfriends in the city and Louise was said to have had an affair with the artist who did the family portraits. Ronald continued to beat Louise and turned the abuse on Butch and Dawn. The younger children avoided abuse but witnessed fights that often turned physical. Butch once pointed a gun at his father to make him stop hitting Louise. He pulled the trigger but it didn't fire, which Ronald viewed as a miracle. After that, he had Butch and his friend Bobby Kelske put religious statues and a small shrine in the backyard.
Butch and Dawn both used drugs and alcohol to cope with their dysfunctional family life. Dawn wanted to move to Florida with a boyfriend but her father forbid it. She fought back, even going after Ronald with a butcher knife during one argument, but didn't leave. Butch was also at odds with their father. Butch and a friend had supposedly been robbed while taking a large amount of money to the bank. Ronald didn't believe him, which led to fights at the dealership where employees heard Ronald call Butch “the devil” and said he needed to get the devil off his back. Butch told Dawn he had heard their father and Louise's uncle plotting to kill him.
Butch knew he had to strike first.
Danny told his mother living in the new house wouldn't bother him but he wasn't sure. The day they moved in, a priest came to bless the house. Danny saw the priest go upstairs and then immediately leave. He went into the room where the priest had been and saw swarms of flies. Danny killed as many of the flies as he could, but, when he brought his mother in to show her, they had disappeared. A few nights later, Danny and his little brother and sister accidentally broke a pane in the window in their playroom and both Kathy and George had beaten all three of them.
Danny was used to George's authoritative, domineering ways; he made the children call him “Sir” and, after marrying Kathy, insisted on adopting the children because he wanted them to have his name if he was going to take responsibility for them. George hadn't been working since the move and seemed stressed and sick, always cold and building fires in the fireplace to keep him warm. He woke up every morning at 3:15am for no reason and often heard loud music coming from the living room in the middle of the night. He would yell at Kathy to keep the kids quiet and they all tried to avoid him. After a fight with George, Danny was thrown up the stairs by an unseen force.
That wasn't the end of the bizarre supernatural things that happened to Danny. He opened the window to get rid of an unexplained terrible odor in the house and the window crashed back down on his hands, literally flattening them. Kathy took him down to the kitchen, where he sat at the table while she called for help. A door in the kitchen opened and a specter entered the room. The specter walked through Danny's injured hands, healing them like nothing had even happened.
The last night the Lutzes were in the house, the boys' beds shook violently and levitated. The family was so terrified they didn't take anything with them when they left.
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The Amityville Horror and The Amityville Horror II: The Possession
Posted by Laura D. James in BRUTAL REALITY, 0 comments