'Growing up Buttafuoco': Joey and Mary Jo's daughter tells her story

ByN.J. Burkett WPVI logo
Friday, May 20, 2022
'Growing up Buttafuoco': Joey and Mary Jo's daughter tells her story
NJ Burkett with the details of a new 2020 special on the Buttafuoco story.

NEW YORK -- You might think that 27 years after the "Long Island Lolita" story first exploded across the tabloids, there couldn't possibly be anything more to say.

"Most people think they know this story, but they have no clue," Jessie Buttafuoco, the victim's daughter, said. "I lived this story. And it's crazy."

The Buttafuocos are back. Jessie Buttafuoco, Mary Jo Buttafuoco, and Joey Buttafuoco, who became a celebrity for all the wrong reasons.

"It took on a life of its own because that's what the public was seeing, that's what they wanted. And that's what the media wanted," Joey Buttafuoco said. "Did I play into that? Yeah, of course I did."

In a special, two-hour edition of "20/20", the Buttafuoco saga was told by the people who lived it and those who covered it.

On November 8, 2019, the "20/20" special 'Growing up Buttafuoco' aired.

The first time we heard that a woman had been shot on the doorstep of her suburban New York house, we all thought it was a home invasion.

"A mysterious shooting in the suburbs. A woman was shot in the head in front of her house," Bill Beutel reported on WABC-TV's Eyewitness News in 1992.

The Nassau County Police would arrest a 17-year-old high school senior named Amy Fisher, who later admitted she shot Mrs. Buttafuoco because she was having an affair with Joey Buttafuoco.

That's when the story took off.

"As I'm trying to recover from this egregious injury that I had, this phenomenon starts to happen," Mary Jo Buttafuoco explained. "It's not about me anymore. It becomes about Joey and Amy!"

People couldn't get enough of it. People were talking about it everywhere from the diners on the South Shore to the yacht clubs on the North Shore of Long Island. You'd get on the train and everybody had the Daily News. 'Long Island Lolita' was an obsession.

The "20/20" episode took an in-depth look at the crime and the circus that followed with Joey Buttafuoco as the ringmaster.

"It was a freakin' cartoon I was living in. It was just insane," he said. "So, yeah. I cashed in and I cashed out."

The Buttafuocos remained together for ten years before they divorced, and were interviewed separately. Amy Fisher declined to be interviewed and is reportedly living again on Long Island under an assumed name - a single mother with three children.