Amityville: An Origin Story: true events of horror house at 112 Ocean Avenue - what happened to Ronald DeFeo?

BBC Two documentary Amityville: An Origin Story explores the ‘haunting’ of 112 Ocean Avenue
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BBC Two documentary series Amityville: An Origin Story explores the grisly events at 112 Ocean Avenue which have inspired  the Amityville Horror film franchise. 

The four part series explores the disturbing deaths of six members of the DeFeo family in th 1974, and the supposed haunting of the house’s next occupants. The terrifying crime has been manna for horror movie makers ever since, from the original The Amityville Horror, to The Conjuring franchise

BBC Two documentary follows the 'haunting' of 112 Ocean AvenueBBC Two documentary follows the 'haunting' of 112 Ocean Avenue
BBC Two documentary follows the 'haunting' of 112 Ocean Avenue

What happened at 112 Ocean Avenue?

In 1974 Ronald DeFeo Jr. killed his father, mother, two brothers, and two sisters as they slept at their home at 112 Ocean Avenue. DeFeo, aged 24 at the time, travelled from room to room, shooting his family - the entire spree was over in 15 minutes. Whilst this is horrific enough, the murder spree in Amityville, New York was just the beginning of events that would make the address infamous.

A year after the killings, married couple George and Kathy Lutz moved into the property with their three children, hoping it would be their dream home where they could raise their family. 

However, as soon as they moved in, they began experiencing what they claimed were paranormal events - green slime dripping down the walls, visions of a demonic pig and a faceless demonic figure. 

The Lutz’s moved out in January 1976 after just 28 days, swearing that the house became haunted after the 1974 murders. The couple fled the house so quickly that they didn’t even take the time to pack their belongings, leaving most of them behind

A paranormal investigation of the property was carried out two months later, and the Lutz’s returned their dream home, turned living nightmare of a property to the bank and moved to California.

George and Kathy Lutz moved into 112 Ocean Avenue after the DeFeo murdersGeorge and Kathy Lutz moved into 112 Ocean Avenue after the DeFeo murders
George and Kathy Lutz moved into 112 Ocean Avenue after the DeFeo murders

The suggestions of paranormal goings on at 112 Ocean Avenue have since been debunked, but the murders and later reported haunting became an urban legend, especially following the 1977 Amityville Horror book about the events, adapted into a cult horror film two years later. 

Seven low-budget sequels and a 2005 remake were made, but the story gained renewed attention with the birth of The Conjuring Franchise, starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren, the paranormal investigator couple who visited number 112 after the Lutz’s fled.

The pair supposedly confirmed that there was a demonic presence at the property, although many believe they were fraudsters who exaggerated or faked evidence of hauntings.

What happened to Ronald DeFeo?

After DeFeo Jr. killed six family members he was tried and convicted for his disturbing crimes. The murderer was sentenced to six sentences of 25 years to life 

. Sentenced to six sentences of 25 years to life, DeFeo died in prison on March 12, 2021. The case inspired the book and film versions of The Amityville Horror.[2]

Sentenced to six sentences of 25 years to life in 1975 and was held at Sullivan Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in New York for the remainder of his life, all of his appeals and requests for parole being denied. DeFeo died in the prison in March 2021, aged 69, having spent more than 45 years behind bars.

When is Amityville: An Origin Story on TV?

The series premieres on BBC Two on Friday February 2 at 9pm. There are four episodes in the series and they will air on BBC Two at the same time weekly. All four episodes are available to stream on BBC iPlayer now.

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