Silent Witness: The Bobby Kelske Story

As Bobby Kelske sat alongside other companions at Henry’s Bar on the evening of November 13, 1974, the men did not realize that the town of Amityville was about to change forever. Moments later, Ronald ”Butch” DeFeo Jr., a 23 year old comrade of Kelske’s burst through the door of the tavern and fell to his knees.

”Bobby, you’ve got to help me! Somebody shot my mother and father!”

The horror unbeknownst to Amityville had now begun to play out, unveiling it’s disturbing tale that would reach the front pages of newspapers across America. Six of the seven DeFeo family members had been brutally murdered in their beds. It was the worst mass murder in Long Island history. One year later, Ronald DeFeo Jr. was convicted of the slaughter of his mother, father, two brothers and two sisters.

Fast forward 25 years — a new name is linked to the murderous tale. Robert ”Bobby” Kelske. Could it be that the young man sitting at the bar that fateful night was in fact the missing link to the DeFeo slayings? Many believe it’s true.

In 2002, Ric Osuna brought to life DeFeo’s new story in, The Night the DeFeos Died. According to DeFeo, it was his sister Dawn who masterminded the plan to end the lives of their parents and siblings. The night of the murders, Bobby Kelske was at the DeFeo house with Ronnie and Dawn, smoking marijuana and getting high, as they had done countless times before. Only this night ended differently — with the deaths of the DeFeo family.

But why is it that Kelske’s name is continuously brought up in this devilish tale? Is it because Ronald DeFeo Jr. cannot accept the fact that he was the lone gunman that horrendous night? Or is it because Kelske was indeed part of the crime? We may never know.

What we do know is that six innocent lives were tragically cut short in the morning hours of November 13, 1974, and that Ronald DeFeo Jr. still sits incarcerated for the crimes he was convicted of. As for Bobby Kelske, on January 1, 2001 he lost his battle with cancer. He was only 50 years old.

Robert \'Bobby\' Kelske
Robert 'Bobby' Kelske (right)