Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
The crazy case of Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco

The crazy case of Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco

[spooky intro music] Hey guys, and welcome back. Before we get
started, I just want to say that the pollen is thick in the air right now down here, and
I just got over a cold last week. So if I sound nasally or my voice sounds more scratchy
than usual, that’s why. So today I’m going to do something a little
bit different. I usually do list videos, but I’m going to try focusing on one case for
an entire video. As much as I enjoy list videos, some of these cases are so extensive that I don’t feel like I have enough time to give them the attention that they need. I don’t know if I’ll continue to do them in the future, but it will probably
be on a case by case basis. So the first case I’m going to cover took
place in 1992. It was really well known at the time, and several of the people involved
still make public appearances in one way or the other. I was too young to remember these
events at the time, and I’d imagine a pretty large chunk of my audience is in the same
boat. So today I’m going to tell you about the absolutely insane case of Amy Fisher,
Joey Buttafuoco, and Mary Jo Buttafuoco. Amy Fisher was born on August 21, 1974 in
Merrick, New York. Growing up, she was described as a quiet loner who didn’t stand out or
care much about what people thought of her. This is probably a good thing, since she was apparently
not very well liked. But Amy’s home life was far from perfect.
She was in and out of hospitals as a kid, and one incident when she was young left her
blind in one eye. When she was around middle school age, she didn’t wear her glasses enough
and would get constant headaches. It’s not confirmed, but it’s pretty likely she was
being given opioid medication for the pain, being introduced to it at a very young age.
At one point, the eye drops she would use would get matted in her hair and doctors had to
shave her head. She would get made fun of for having her head shaved. Growing up, Amy had a good relationship with
her mother, but her relationship with her father was strained. She was apparently ’terrified’
of him. She would later allege sexual assault by a family member, as well as a contractor
working on their house when she was 13. After these things happened, she ’numbed’ the
pain by burying her emotions and trying to forget about it. She had several relationships in
her teenage years and got pregnant at one point, but that pregnancy ended in an abortion.
In February 1991, she tried to run away. The incident that ended up changing Amy’s
life started out as just another bad thing. In May 1991, when Amy was 16, she was backing
her car out of the garage when she ripped her side mirror off. Amy was scared of what
her father would say, so she took the car herself to an auto repair shop in Baldwin,
New York, just down the road from Merrick, where I assume her family still lived.
When she got there, she met the owner of the shop, Joey Buttafuoco. Joey Buttafuoco was born on March 11, 1958
but grew up on Long Island (where most of our story takes place). There’s not a lot
of information I could find about Joey’s early life, but apparently at one point he
said he was “born into” the auto repair business. In 1971, when Joey was a freshman
in high school, he met a girl named Mary Jo. The two became friends and, eventually, much
more. When Mary Jo was 22 and Joey was 21, they were married. At first, the couple seemed to have a great
life. They got along really well, and each of their respective families approved of
the match. By 1987, the couple had settled into a beautiful house on the beach in Massapequa,
New York with their two young children. Joey took the kids out on the family boat on weekends
and in the summer. Everything seemed good. But there was at least one major hiccup bubbling underneath
the surface. When the couple bought the new house in Massapequa, they had to sell the
old one. Joey eventually told Mary Jo that he had sold the house to a drug dealer who
threatened his life. (Since he was involved with a drug dealer, I think we can safely assume
he was also involved with drugs, even though I could never find it explicitly stated anywhere.)
Mary Jo was angry, but stood by Joey with the stipulation that he go to rehab, which he
did. After that, things seemed good…but all that changed in May 1991, when Joey met
Amy Fisher. Like I said earlier, Amy was terrified of
her father’s reaction if he found out about her car (which she’d received as a gift
for her 16th birthday). But when Joey told her how much the repairs would cost, she knew
she needed her dad’s help because she couldn’t afford it herself. Joey suggested she tell
her dad that someone else sideswiped her, which she did. And it worked. The next day,
she and her dad came into the repair shop together and eventually worked out the repair
fees and details. Amy reportedly visited the repair shop 14
times over the next few weeks. I’ve done something similar to my car that Amy did to
hers — I was backing out of my garage and got too close to the far wall, and took the
driver’s side mirror clean off. The entire process of getting it fixed took two, maybe
three trips to the repair shop. If she made 14 trips to the shop in such a short period
of time, I’m guessing she was going for another reason — and I think we all know
what that is. After the repairs were done, Amy decided to
have a stereo installed in her car. Her trips to the repair shop continued until July 2.
That day, after working on her car, Joey agreed to drive Amy home. Once they got to her house,
he made sexual advances at her, and she accepted them. Over the next few weeks their relationship
blossomed into a full blown affair. Amy would later describe the affair as being filled
with “expensive restaurants and cheap motels.” The couple would have sex four to five times
a week anywhere they could — including Amy’s house, Joey’s repair shop, even
the boat that Joey took his kids out on in the summer! Two weeks into the affair, Amy got
herpes. She had to tell her parents about it but didn’t tell them who she’d probably
gotten it from. Joey would later deny ever having given Amy herpes, but STD’s were the least
of this couples’ worries. From what I’ve read, it’s pretty clear
that Amy was much more devoted to Joey than Joey was to her. Amy felt like she could
talk to Joey about things she’d never been able to talk about to anyone and kept falling deeper in love
with him. She eventually became obsessive and distanced herself from her family and
friends. Joey, on the other hand, wasn’t as committed. In the years following, he’s
claimed that Amy was never his girlfriend or his lover, but that she wanted to be. And,
even though he told Amy how unhappy he was in his marriage, he refused to leave Mary
Jo. In November, four months into the affair, Amy gave Joey an ultimatum: Her or Mary Jo.
He chose Mary Jo. Needless to say, Amy was devastated. At one
point, she pretended to sell candy door to door just so she could try and get a glimpse of Mary Jo. She also attempted suicide. But she did eventually
start seeing another guy, a gym co-manager named Paul Makely. But Joey was the only person
she had eyes for and, by January of 1992, they were back together. It’s not 100 % clear when Amy came up with
the idea to kill Mary Jo. According to one report, on May 13th, she went to get her hair
done by a friend of hers named Jane. While there, Jane complained that her boyfriend
was cheating on her. She expressed her anger over the other woman by saying she wanted
to “get a gun and blow her head off.” While she was probably joking, this statement set
off a lightbulb in Amy’s head, and she asked Jane where she could get a gun. But according to other reports, Amy had been
plotting to get rid of Mary Jo since the beginning of her relationship with Joey. She claimed
she often brought it up to Joey, and told him of her plan to get a gun after her talk
with Jane. Joey has denied any knowledge of or involvement in Amy’s plan. After their conversation at the salon, Jane
referred Amy to 21-year-old Peter Guagenti. Guagenti agreed to give Amy the gun and drive her to
the scene — in exchange for oral sex and money. Amy also stole license plates and attached
them to the car of her other boyfriend, Paul Makely, which would be used as their getaway
car. On the morning of May 19, 1992, Mary Jo was
at home painting. At some point between 11:30 and noon, there was a knock on the door. She
opened it up to a girl she didn’t recognize who asked if she was Joey Buttafuoco’s wife. At first, she thought the girl might need
Joey because she was having car troubles. She also wondered if she was selling Girl
Scout cookies. (Just a pro tip from a former Girl Scout: Cookies are usually sold in the
winter and early spring. Not in May.) When Mary Jo stepped outside, the girl said
something she didn’t expect. She said her name was Ann Marie, she was 19, and Joey
was having an affair with her 16-year-old sister. To prove this, she held up a t-shirt
from the repair shop and said she’d found it at their house. But Mary Jo was skeptical.
Joey had given away plenty of these shirts, so that didn’t prove anything. She was also
curious as to why Joey would leave a shirt somewhere and then come home shirtless. Mary Jo asked the girl to leave, saying she’d
tell Joey she came by. But as she turned to go back inside, the girl pulled out a gun,
aimed it at Mary Jo’s right temple, and pulled the trigger. She and her getaway driver
eventually disposed of the gun in a nearby sewer. Neighbors heard the gunshot wound and ran
to the Buttafuoco residence to see what was going on. When they saw Mary Jo lying unconscious
on the ground covered in blood, they called 911. Miraculously, she had survived the gunshot
wound, but the prognosis was grim. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors
immediately began emergency surgery. During surgery, detectives interviewed Joey,
who was understandably distraught. He wasn’t a suspect at this point; all they wanted was
to get more information about who could have done this. Joey told them about Paul and Amy,
but said that he and Amy were just friends. He told detectives he had advised Amy against
giving Paul drug money, and Paul knew this and wanted revenge on him, so he went after
Mary Jo. Police were skeptical, but they didn’t have much else to go on. Meanwhile, the case got the attention of the
media. Everyone was wondering who possibly could have attacked Mary Jo in a supposedly
safe area. Rumors ranged from a robbery gone wrong to involvement with the mob. But police
had no solid leads. Then Mary Jo emerged from her coma. I found
three different sources that gave three different dates for this. One said May 20th, another
said May 21st, and yet another said May 22nd. But regardless of when it actually happened,
this was the break investigators were looking for. Although she was on lots of pain medication
and couldn’t really speak, Mary Jo managed to write down the details of the attack. She
told detectives about a brown haired girl named Ann Marie who had shown her one of Joey’s
t-shirts. When Joey found out about the t-shirt, he
said he had only given one of those particular t-shirts away — to Amy Fisher. Police
showed Mary Jo a picture of Amy, who she immediately recognized as the shooter. There was a warrant
put out for Amy’s arrest. Investigators staked out her house, but there was no sign
of her by the next day. So they got Joey to call her and, once they established that she
was home, she was arrested. On May 29, she was indicted on charges of second degree
attempted murder, criminal use of a firearm, assault, and several others. She pled not
guilty. The case had gained some media attention after
the shooting. But once the perpetrator was revealed, the story exploded. Police had been
looking for a male shooter this entire time, and were stunned when the shooter turned out
to be a teenage girl. Details of the affair came out, and the tabloids eventually gave
Amy her now famous nickname “The Long Island Lolita.” After Amy’s arrest, she got a lawyer who
immediately went into damage control. Amy had initially said the shooting was an accident —
she went to the Buttafuoco residence just to talk to Mary Jo, when the gun accidentally
went off. Needless to say, that didn’t work, so they tried a new tactic: Painting
Amy as the victim. Her lawyer pinned everything on Joey, saying the whole thing was his idea.
He tried to portray Amy as a poor, innocent young girl manipulated by an older man. While
Amy probably was manipulated by Joey to a degree, the attempts to salvage her reputation
failed spectacularly. During her affair with Joey, Amy had bought
a new car. But she was fired from her job in September and in desperate need of money to make her car payments. Joey suggested she work as a prostitute, which she did. She apparently hated it, but sucked
it up and did it anyway because she was desperate for money to make car payments. Joey would
later deny he even knew she was a prostitute. He also initially denied having an affair with her at all. But others weren’t so coy about their involvement
with Amy. One of Amy’s former clients had a sex tape of the two of them he had secretly
recorded. This tape was eventually aired on national television, which is kind of stunning.
This was how the world discovered Amy had been a prostitute — and how Amy and her
lawyer discovered that her reputation was damaged beyond repair. In September 1992, Amy accepted a plea deal.
In exchange for pleading guilty to reckless assault and for her testimony against Joey,
she would only get 5 to 15 years in jail. She was eventually sentenced to 15 years,
with her sentence set to begin in December. In October, prosecutors said they wouldn’t
be pursuing charges against Joey in the case. Two days after Amy accepted the plea deal,
her “other” boyfriend, Paul Makely, released a tape he’d secretly recorded of them when
Amy was out on bail earlier in the year. The tape was 90 minutes long and featured
Amy talking about all of the things she wanted to do before she went to prison, namely getting
drunk, playing pool and going to the Hamptons. She also bragged she’d be out of jail in less
than three years, and claimed she wanted to keep her name in the press so she could
make money. She also suggested she and Paul could get married so they could have conjugal
visits, and joked about how she should get a Ferrari for all of the “pain and suffering”
she’d been though. Obviously this couldn’t exactly be used
against her since she’d already been sentenced. But it didn’t help her already shattered
reputation. She even attempted suicide over the fallout as well as Paul’s betrayal. Amy had been released on bail by a production
company who wanted the rights to her story. I’m not sure exactly who ended up getting
them, but in 1993, The Amy Fisher Story was released, with Drew Barrymore in the title
role. At least two more movies based on the case have been released since then, and Amy
released an autobiography in 1993. The case has clearly cemented its case in pop culture
history. In February 1993, Amy’s getaway driver,
Peter Guagenti, was sentenced to six months in jail for his role in the crime. That same
month, prosecutors said they would investigate Joey for statutory rape. Amy turned 17 a month
into their affair, which is the legal age of consent in New York. But when they first
began sleeping together, she was still a minor in the eyes of the law. In the spring, Amy testified against Joey
in front of a grand jury. Mary Jo testified for him and adamantly denied that he had cheated,
despite Amy’s testimony. Joey was indicted on rape and sodomy charges. He initially
continued to deny the affair, but eventually realized there was too much evidence against
him. On October 6, 1993, he pled guilty to one count of statutory rape in exchange for
18 other charges being dropped. He was sentenced to six months in jail, and ended up serving
four. In 1996, the Buttafuoco family moved to California.
At this point, Mary Jo still refused to believe Joey had ever cheated on her, despite all
the evidence to the contrary. But soon after the move, the healing process began and she finally
accepted the truth. In 1999, Amy was set for a parole hearing. Mary Jo flew back to New
York to request that Amy be released because she was young and could still turn her life
around. Her request was granted, and Amy was released on parole after serving seven years
of her 15 year sentence. Mary Jo and Joey separated in 2000 and, in 2003, after 26 years
of marriage, they divorced. Mary Jo appeared on Oprah in 2005. After
the episode aired, a reconstructive surgeon offered her surgery to fix some of the crookedness
in her face. She accepted, and was happy with the results. In 2009, she released a memoir
called Getting it Through my Thick Skull. She remarried in 2012. After the divorce, Joey had several brushes
with the law. Among them were an arrest for soliciting a prostitute and a year long jail
sentence for insurance fraud in 2004. That one also got him banned from the auto industry
for life. But being banned from the career he claimed to be “born into” probably
didn’t phase him much, as he’s had a lucrative career as a D-list actor. He appeared
on Celebrity Boxing in 2002 as well as in several movies, including Finding Forrester
where he played…”Night Man.” He remarried in 2005 to a woman he met at his auto shop —
the same way he met Amy. So I guess if I want to find a boyfriend, I should ditch the online
dating sites and start hanging out at auto repair shops. Then again, they divorced two
years later…so maybe not. Amy’s parole ended in 2003. That same year,
she married a former police officer, and the couple have two children together. She released
a tell all book in 2004 titled If I Knew Then. In 2007, Amy’s husband sold private sex tapes
of them. She sued the company that distributed them for copyright infringement, and she and her
husband separated. It was around this time that rumors began
that Amy and Joey had rekindled their relationship. They had appeared together at the Lingerie
Bowl the previous year, and both were now separated from their spouses. Mary Jo said
she wasn’t really bothered by the rumors; she and Joey had been divorced for awhile
now, and she was engaged to someone else. Amy claimed at one point that she and Joey
were back together, but later said she’d lied about it to get a reality TV show and “to
piss off Mary Jo.” However, she did admit that they had a fling at one point, but it
only lasted about a week. Apparently Amy wasn’t quite as into it this time around, saying
he was older, hadn’t taken care of himself, and had “man boobs.” Yeah…you can’t make this stuff up. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, she claimed
to have no sympathy for Mary Jo, saying she had been just as fame hungry as Amy herself.
Amy said “The fact that Mary Jo has a bullet in her head means nothing! I still have silicone
in my boobs, and you don’t hear me complaining. She can’t feel her bullet, and I can’t
feel my silicone.” Yeah…I’ll just give you a second to let
that sink in. Anyway, by January 2008, Amy had reunited
with her husband, and they worked together to release their sex tape. In March, she
appeared on The Howard Stern Show, but was soon joined by an unexpected guest…Joey
and Mary Jo’s daughter, Jessica Buttafuoco. The conversation grew hostile and Amy stormed
out. You know what I really prefer just to talk
to you. Jessica, Amy doesn’t want to speak with you. Well too bad, I didn’t want Amy
to come to my front doorstep and shoot my mother in the face, the least she can do is
[inaudible] I don’t even have a lot to say to her. What, you’re leaving? Well you drove
Amy out of the door. Stern later called it his “shortest interview
ever.” In 2009, she starred in a pay per view porn special called ‘Amy Fisher: Totally
Nude & Exposed.’ By the way, if you do a google image search for this title, you will see
Amy Fisher…totally nude and exposed. Just so you know. In 2011, Amy appeared on Celebrity Rehab with
Dr. Drew. She claimed she only drank when she went out but blacked out every time she
drank. She told Dr. Drew she thought everyone did this and didn’t even realize it was
abnormal. Until the rehab tech informed her, she didn’t even know what blacking out
meant. She also later claimed she got drunk before filming porn scenes. However, when
she signed up for the show she said “I don’t need rehab. But I think I made for
an interesting cast member.” No word on whether she’s changed her mind since. Amy and her husband divorced in 2015. She
lived in Florida for awhile, but moved back to Long Island in 2017 after growing tired
of her children being harassed due to their relation to her. Mary Jo’s relationship with Amy has been
up and down over the years. Sometimes Mary Jo is cordial and forgiving, sometimes she
puts Amy on blast. In a 2018 interview, Mary Jo called Amy a narcissist and said she didn’t
seem to have learned from her mistakes. However, she did end up forgiving Amy again, so let’s
hope this one lasts. So that’s pretty much the story up to the
present day. I want to know, what are your thoughts on this case? Do you have sympathy
for Amy, or do you agree with Mary Jo that she hasn’t really learned anything? Do you
think Joey knew about Amy’s plan to kill Mary Jo, or was he in the dark, as he said?
Let me know in the comments. Be sure to like, share and subscribe if you find this interesting.
Thank you so much for watching, and I’ll see you next time. Bye!

4 comments on “The crazy case of Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco

  1. So Amy Fisher was a crappy person all around. Amy and Joey deserved each other and I’m so glad Mary Jo moved on with her life.

  2. I remember when this happened. I was about 12. It was so big they made 3 made for tv movies airing at the same time. Alyssa Milano played any in one of them.

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