Within ten minutes of Yeswit’s call, Officer Kenneth
Greguski of the Amityville Village Police Department arrived at 112 Ocean
Avenue. By now, the men were grouped in the front yard, trying to comfort
Butch who sobbed uncontrollably.
“I’m not going to go back in that house!”, screamed
Butch, as he pounded his fists into the Electra. “My mother and father are
dead!” (Sullivan, High Hopes, pg. 16)
Finally convincing Butch to come back inside, the men
reentered the house and sat DeFeo at the kitchen table. After Greguski
inspected the scene, he immediately called police headquarters to report the
Detectives and police officials came in swarms, followed
by legions of reporters and curious locals stunned by the tragic news.
Suffolk County detective Gasper Randazzo was the first to
question Butch on the scene. Amongst his sobbing, Butch was able to tell
Randazzo where he had been that day and how he found the bodies. When asked
who he thought was responsible, Butch demanded that a supposed Mafia
hit-man, Louis Falini, was to blame. Detective Gerard Gozaloff suggested
that Ronnie be put into protective custody, if indeed, the killings were
linked with organized crime.
After signing an official statement, Butch was driven by
homicide detectives George Harrison and Joseph Napolitano to Fourth Precinct
headquarters, where he could be interviewed. Butch continued to insist that
Falini was connected with the murders. He explained that Falini had lived
with the DeFeo family briefly and knew of a certain area in the basement
Butch and his father had stored a collection of cash and gems.
With continued questioning, Butch seemed more intense in
his willingness to cooperate, admitting petty robberies he and his friends
had taken part in. Feeling they had pulled enough information from him, the
detectives allowed Butch to sleep while they returned to the scene of the
Investigators soon discovered boxes of Marlin .35-caliber
ammunition in his room, which matched the murder weapon. Further questioning
of Butch’s friends revealed Ronnie was a “gun fanatic”. The pieces began to
fall into place.
The next morning, Gozaloff, Harrison and Napolitano went
to wake Butch, who was still asleep on a cot in the police file room. As
Ronnie awoke, Harrison began to inform him of his rights. Butch became
anxious. “You don’t have to do that…Get Falini. He’s the guy you want. Not
me.” (Sullivan, High Hopes, pg. 35)
Detective Dennis Rafferty and Lieutenant Robert Dunn soon
relieved Gozaloff and Napolitano after hours of questioning. Rafferty
continued to press at the discrepancies in Ronnie’s version of the events
and his involvement.
Butch continued to lie, claiming that he had been
awakened by Louis Falini at gunpoint and made to accompany him as Falini did
away with each member of his family. He went even further to describe how he
had discarded of the evidence in a sewer in Brooklyn.
“Did it really happen that way?” asked Rafferty.
“No.” Butch confessed. “It all started so fast. Once I started, I just
couldn’t stop. It went so fast.” (Sullivan, High Hopes, pg. 47)