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20/20

Amy Fisher: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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New York Department of Corrections/Twitter

Amy Fisher

Amy Fisher’s life changed course when she was only 16 years old and began an affair with 38-year-old Joey Buttafuoco. When she pulled the trigger and shot Mary Jo Buttafuoco in the face, Fisher and Buttafuoco’s lives were permanently changed.

The salacious details of the crime captured tabloid headlines and captivated the minds of Americans. Fisher was only 17 years old when she tried to kill the wife of her lover. Soon, the scandal deepened when Fisher’s involvement with an escort service surfaced. The story became fodder for three network TV movies. On Friday, November 8, the Buttafuoco family will share their story on ABC 20/20 at 9 p.m. EST on the episode, “Growing Up Buttafuoco.”

Fisher became known as the “Long Island Lolita.” She was released after spending about seven years in prison. Her life after prison was equally bizarre. She married an ex-NYPD cop, Lou Bellera, and became a porn star. The couple had children and divorced in 2015. Now, Amy Fisher has a new name to hide her identity and lives in Long Island, New York.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Amy Fisher Was a High School Student Who Lived With Her Parents When She Shot Mary Jo Buttafuoco

Long Island Lolita

The May 23, 1992 edition of the Daily News dubs Fisher the “Long Island Lolita.”

Amy Fisher was only 17 years old when she shot her lover’s wife in the face. Four days after the shooting on May 19, 1992, “Long Island Lolita” was stretched across the cover of the New York Post in bold print. It would become the infamous teen’s nickname in a case that captivated the nation. You can read the May 23, 1992 article here.

Fisher rang the doorbell of the Buttafuoco’s home in the Biltmore Shores section of Massapequa, chatted with Mary Jo Buttafuoco and shot her in the head. At the time, Buttafuoco was 37 years old. She was a stay-at-home mom with two children. Police had no evidence and few clues as to who pulled the trigger until Buttafuoco made a “miraculous” recovery and gave police a description of the shooter, according to the 1992 article.

Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco met when her parents brought their car to his repair shop, The Complete Auto Body Repair Shop, about 1 1/2 years earlier.

“The police said the romance started soon thereafter when Fisher was 16 years old,” the article said. “[Police Sgt. Daniel] Severin would give no details of the couple’s affair, but he said the shooting was apparently the result of an attempt by Joseph Buttafuoco to break off the relationship. ‘The young lady would have no part of ending the romance. For her, it was a fatal attraction,’ Severin said.”

At the time of the shooting, Fisher still lived with her parents. They lived on Berkley Lane in South Merrick. She was a senior at Kennedy High School in Bellmore and had plans to go to college.

In 2017, Fisher told the New York Post Mary Jo Mary Jo Buttafuoco “really is a wonderful lady and I was just a stupid kid.”


2. Amy Fisher Filed a Lawsuit While Incarcerated Saying She Was Raped by Prison Guards

Amy Fisher filed a lawsuit in 1996, saying she was raped repeatedly by prison guards. She sought $20 million in damages and asked to be transferred to another prison. You can read the lawsuit in full here. The suit was filed against 22 guards and prison officials.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York determined her allegations were not credible in 1997. Court documents indicated her testimony was not corroborated by physical evidence or other witnesses, and some witnesses – whom the court deemed more credible – contradicted her testimony.

“In the Court’s view, Fisher did not come across as someone who suffered a series of rapes,” the court filing said. “This view is based on a number of factors. First, Fisher’s testimony regarding the rape allegations was very matter of fact and general in nature. Second, her descriptions of some of the sexual encounters, even if taken as true, could only reasonably be described as consensual. Third, at the same time Fisher was allegedly being sexually abused by correction officers at Albion, she received a tattoo saying ‘Sexy.’ Fourth, only a month after an alleged rape by a correction officer, Fisher was writing love letters to another officer. This conduct, receiving the tattoo and writing the love letters, would appear to be inconsistent with someone who was being raped and sexually abused by correction officers.”

In her testimony, annotated in the court filing, she said she was repeatedly sexually abused by prison guards.

In one incident, she said a prison guard went into her cell while she was sleeping, put his hand over her mouth and directed her into the staff bathroom before the alleged assault. Months later, she said she went along with sex with him because she was concerned about losing the guard as a friend.

“I don’t know why I did it, I just did it because I did it,” she told the judge. “I didn’t think about it. I didn’t want to do it, but felt like like I just, if I didn’t do it, he wouldn’t be my friend anymore.”

She also claimed a guard took suggestive photographs of her, several called her derogatory names, and officials retaliated against her by putting her in a disciplinary housing unit because of her allegations.


3. Amy Fisher’s Prison Sentence Was Reduced When Mary Jo Buttafuoco Said She Supported Release

Amy Fisher had a surprising supporter for reducing her prison sentence – the victim, Mary Jo Buttafuoco. During Fisher’s time in prison, Buttafuoco met Fisher’s mother, Roseann Fisher, and started writing letters to Amy Fisher.

Amy Fisher told the court in 1999 she was deceived during her court proceedings in 1992, saying she was told she would receive a work release and parole within three years if she pleaded guilty to first-degree assault.

“Amy Fisher has won the support of prosecutors in the motion to vacate her assault conviction – and also the backing of the woman she shot in the head,” an April 1, 1999 article in The Morning Call said. “Mary Jo Buttafuoco joined prosecutors in the motion on behalf of Fisher, who said she was denied effective legal advice when she pleaded guilty to first-degree assault.”

Fisher spent nearly seven years in prison. She was sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison for first-degree assault.

“Mary Jo Buttafuoco said in a letter that she forgave her attacker after meeting her mother and corresponding with Fisher, now 24, for months,” the article said.

The parole board interviewed Fisher at Albion Correctional Facility in western New York, where she was imprisoned. They voted 2-1 to release her, according to a May 6, 1999 Associated Press article.


4. Amy Fisher Became a Porn Star Saying She Didn’t Know What Else to Do

Amy Fisher became a porn star after the release of her sex tape, “Amy Fisher Caught on Tape,” in 2007.

She told the Daily Mail in 2015 no one else would employ her, and she did not know what else to do besides porn.

“‘I make adult films, and I look at it as they are offering employment – I need employment, no one else will give me employment,” she said. “I just go with it – I don’t know what else to do.”

In 2011, she announced she was leaving the porn industry, but said she would “not rule it out” in the future.

Fisher has long-claimed her ex-husband, Lou Bellera, released the sex tape in 2007 to make money from her and coerce her into the porn industry – allegations he strongly denies. The sex tape showed Fisher and Bellera having sex throughout their house and yard. It was released when the couple was separated. At the time, a “date” between Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco was being hyped in the media.

“I was never happy doing it, and he would just sit there and watch, even while I cried. He likes money and he likes attention,” she told the New York Post in 2017 of her time in the porn industry. “Him and Joey were the same that way … They say you always pick the same person — scumbags.”

Bellera told the post Fisher’s comments were “absolutely mind-boggling.” He said the release of the sex tape was carefully orchestrated between Fisher and her agent, and going into porn was “all her idea.”

“I was just a regular Joe when I got involved with that,” he said. “I never made a dime out of it … I was a silent, suffering person in this whole thing.”

In 2008, Fisher said she made no money from the sex tape, and someone else was profiting from it. However, she did reach a six-figure lump sum settlement with the porn distributor, Red Light District, according to the New York Daily News.

“I want to make it crystal clear today that I did not, I repeat, did not, sell a sex tape of myself for money,” the article quoted her as saying. “The distributor of this tape is earning a lot of money off it. I have earned nothing but embarrassment.”


5. Amy Fisher Was Married & Divorced, Had 3 Kids & Lives in Long Island With a New Name

Following her release from prison in 1999 at age 24, Amy Fisher became a columnist and an author. When she was 28, the Long Island Press hired her to write a bi-weekly column.

“She’s a natural writer,” Editor-in-Chief Robbie Woliver told the Huron Daily Tribune in 2002. “If she wasn’t able to write, we wouldn’t have her do this column. We were very, very surprised. The Amy Fisher we found was a little different than the 16-year-old girl that we remember.”

Her first column, “Judging Amy,” was scheduled for publication July 3, 2002. At the time, she was on parole and a single mom. She wrote in the column about her difficulty finding a job.

“In the deli, at the movies, at the mall, I don’t mind people recognizing me,” the column said. “But it is at the workplace where I hit a brick wall. I discovered that Amy Fisher could not get a legitimate job. I was laughed out of interview after interview. They would think I was rich, and applying for the job as a publicity stunt. They didn’t understand that I was destitute.”

You can read the full column here.

She earned the 2004 Media Award for News Column from the Society of Professional Journalists for one of her columns. That year, she released a book, “If I Knew Then…” which she wrote with Woliver, the newspaper editor.

“One of the most recognized names in America, Amy Fisher–now thirty and a happily married mother and award-winning journalist–finally tells the true story in her own words and includes many never-before-seen photographs,” the book’s description says. “Amy writes candidly of her childhood, her relationship with Joey Buttafuoco, the shooting, life in prison, parole, and how she has pieced her life back together again. It’s both a chilling cautionary tale and an intensely personal and truly inspirational story of remorse, rehabilitation, and redemption.”

In 2003, she married Lou Bellera, a former NYPD cop. They had children and eventually moved into a $575,000 house in Palm Beach, Florida, according to the Daily Mail. He served her divorce papers in 2015, the article said. At the time of the article, she was going by the name Elizabeth Bellera.

She initially stayed in Florida, but moved back to Long Island with her three kids. She has an 18-year-old son and daughters ages 12 and 10. She told the New York Post she was being harassed in Florida, and other children would avoid her kids. She legally changed her name, and moved into a house in the suburbs. Her mom, Roseann Fisher, bought the house for her and spends summers with her daughter and grandchildren.

“I want a private life,” she told the New York Post. “My life has already been ruined.”

READ NEXT: Amy Fisher Today: Where Is She Now in 2019?


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