A Killer Within
It was Wednesday November 13, 1974 that a home on Ocean Ave would literally become the final resting place for six members of the DeFeo family. One by one they were all shot dead as they laid in their beds sleeping. The man responsible for their deaths, Ronald “Butch” De Feo Jr. son and brother to the victims that were killed that November night.
Ronald DeFeo Jr also known as Ronnie, was raised in a middle class family and was the oldest of four children. Despite being raised in a financially stable family, Ronnies relationship with his parents, most notably with his father, would eventually lead him to live a life full of hate and rebellion. The older Defeo was a very controlling and temperamental man, who would verbally and physically abuse Ronnie and his siblings.
During the trial for the murder of his family, Ronnie would be diagnosed by Dr. Harold Zolan as a person who suffered from antisocial personality disorder. Antisocial personality disorder is characterized as being a mental health condition in which a person has a long pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. In chapter 3 of “Serial Murders and Their Victims” we learn that people with ASPD experience fighting during childhood, theft, excessive drug and alcohol abuse and reckless regard for the safety of self or others just to name a few (page 86). Throughout the course of the interview with Dr. Steven Hoge, Ronnie admits to being an alcoholic, stating that he began drinking scotch at the age of 15 slowing escalating to a fifth of scotch just 6 months prior to the murders. While at the same time using drugs such as heroin and LSD. Based on these behaviors all which are symptoms, leads me to believe that Ronnie did suffer from antisocial personality disorder.
On several occasions throughout his life Ronnie showed several signs of reckless regard for the safety of self or others. “One day while on a hunting trip with some friends, during one of his outbursts Ronnie grabbed a shotgun and pointed in one of their faces.” (Lynott) Scared of what just unfolded, his friend runs away and is later approached by Ronnie as though the incident never occurred. “In a separate occasion while his parents argued, Ronnie grabs and loads a shotgun pulling the trigger while pointing it at his fathers face from point blank rage. The gun never goes off and Ronnie just like the incident involving his friend, simply lowers the gun and walks away.” (Lynott) In addition, throughout the entire interview he tries to manipulate the public in attempt to make us the viewers believe that he did not act alone in committing theses murders. He states the night of the murder his sister made a comment and his response to her was “if you want to kill mommy and daddy, I’ll get you a gun”. (Edginton) According to him, they then proceed to go into their parents room where both were asleep, exploiting her anger and manipulating her into agreeing that killing...