AMITYVILLE, L. I., Nov. 18, 1974
Nearly 1,000 friends, relatives and village residents gathered here today at the funeral services for the six members of the DeFeo family who were found murdered in their beds last week.
While the services were held at the St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church, a Suffolk County grand jury in Riverhead handed up an indictment charging the 23‐year‐old surviving son of the family Ronald Jr., with six courts of murder in the second degree.
“What can you say? They gone now and the least would do is to bid them far well,” one relative said after the Mass of the Resurrection at the church, where the DeFeds had worShiped in the nine years they pied in this village Long Island’s South Shore.
“They were a nice family another mourner said
A spokesman for the familiy said that the services were to have been private but that the “response from sympathizers was overwhelming.” The pews were packed, and outside, watched by a heavy police detail, stood scores of bystanders.
Today’s indictment charges that the victims—Ronald DeFeo Sr., 43 years old, his wife, Louise, 42, daughters, Dawn, 18, and Allison, 13; and sons, Mark, 11, and John Matthew, —were shot by Ronald Jr. early last. Wednesday with a.35 caliber rifle as they slept in their beds at the family home at 112 Ocean Avenue here.
The police are still trying to establish the motive for the multiple killings.
‘Why them?” The question was asked, rhetorically, by many of those at the church.
All through the hour‐long mass, which was celebrated by the Rev. James McNamara assistant pastor of the church members of the immediate fem iiy kept their composure, al though friends and even res idents who did not personally know the family wept.
Father McNamara, who administered the last rites to the DeFeos last week, read from the Scriptures and, delivered a short eulogy:
“We come together this morning with troubled hearts But let us understand this ‐through death they have been given true life in our Lord.”
Then the six coffins were carried out of the church to waiting hearses and from there to the St. Charles Cemetery in nearby Pinelawn. There, Father McNamara read from the Script tures again, as about 300 mourners stood with red carnations in their hands. It was only then that Mr. and Mrs. Michael Brigante—Mrs. DeFeo’s parents—broke down.
Long after the mourners had gone and the coffins lowered into the ground, a black limou sine was still parked in the cemetery. In it was Joseph DeFeo, Mr. DeFeo Sr.’s father. He held a rosary in his hands and he kept staring at the graves.