The Disturbing Crimes Of Joey Buttafuoco, The ‘Long Island Lothario’ Whose Teenage Lover Shot His Wife

Published February 15, 2024
Updated February 16, 2024

A 35-year-old auto repairman, Joey Buttafuoco began an illicit relationship with 16-year-old Amy Fisher in 1991 — and Fisher later tried to kill his wife.

Joey Buttafuoco

ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock PhotoJoey Buttafuoco was a 35-year-old married man when he began a sexual relationship with 16-year-old Amy Fisher.

Joey Buttafuoco’s life in the spotlight began in 1991 when the 35-year-old New York auto body shop owner crossed paths with 16-year-old Amy Fisher during a routine car repair. This encounter set off a shocking chain of events that quickly captured national headlines.

Buttafuoco began having an affair with Fisher, who was later dubbed “Long Island Lolita” by the media. Several months later, in May 1992, the teen showed up at Buttafuoco’s house in a jealous rage — and shot his wife in the face.

While Fisher was charged with attempted murder, she ultimately pleaded guilty to assault and spent seven years behind bars. However, the ordeal brought Fisher and Buttafuoco’s illicit relationship to light, and Joey Buttafuoco also served time in prison for statutory rape.

After he was released, Buttafuoco lived his life in front of the camera, appearing on numerous television shows and interview segments. He even reunited with Fisher, shocking his fan base and catapulting himself into the spotlight once again.

Joey Buttafuoco’s Relationship With Amy Fisher And The Violence It Sparked

In the summer of 1991, Amy Fisher and Joseph “Joey” Buttafuoco began an unlawful relationship. Fisher rolled into Buttafuoco’s Long Island auto body shop, setting the stage for a wild story of passion and intrigue. The problem was that Buttafuoco was a 35-year-old married man — and Fisher was only 16.

As reported by The New York Times, Fisher later told a judge, “[W]hen this relationship began, I was not just a 16-year-old teenager taken to bed by a man twice my age. I was a 16-year-old teenager shown a world that I was not ready for, a world of elaborate spending and fast boats. This man took me to expensive restaurants and cheap motels.”

Their relationship went on for nearly a year, but on May 19, 1992, Fisher paid a bold visit to the Buttafuoco household. She was armed with undeniable proof of their sexual trysts, and she confronted Mary Jo Buttafuoco, Joey’s unsuspecting wife, with a t-shirt sporting the logo of his auto body shop.

Fisher, calling herself Anne Marie, told Mary Jo that her younger sister was having an affair with her husband. The confrontation escalated, and Fisher shot her lover’s wife in the head with a .25 caliber pistol.

Mugshot Of Amy Fisher

Kypros/Getty ImagesAmy Fisher was arrested for attempted murder but was ultimately sentenced to seven years in prison for assault.

Mary Jo regained consciousness in the hospital with a broken jaw and a severed carotid artery. She underwent seven hours of surgery, but she made it out of the ordeal alive. Mary Jo then turned to the issue of her husband. When she first confronted Joey Buttafuoco about his connection with Fisher, he initially denied it.

“Joey is a fabulous liar,” Mary Jo told ABC News in 2019. “I did not realize that then. I didn’t realize how much he manipulated me and lied to me, but he did.”

“Joe was adamant,” Mary Jo continued. “He screamed from the rooftops [that] he had nothing to do with her sexually — nothing… I know I did go home and ask Joe a million times, ‘Did you have sex with her?’ And a million times he denied it. And a million times he swore to me on our children’s lives, so I thought he’s got to be telling me the truth. He denied it. Then, I believed him.”

Meanwhile, just after the shooting, Joey Buttafuoco gave Amy Fisher’s name to investigators, telling them she had been to his auto body shop frequently and was the only customer he had recently given a t-shirt. However, he maintained that he had not had a sexual relationship with her. The story began to capture widespread media coverage in both mainstream news outlets and tabloids as Fisher fought back — and investigators found undeniable proof of their affair.

The Legal Consequences

Amy Fisher’s legal team portrayed her as a victim who was manipulated by her lover, claiming that Buttafuoco had convinced her to shoot his wife. She was arrested for attempted murder, while Joey Buttafuoco was charged with statutory rape.

Buttafuoco was outraged by the negative attention he was suddenly receiving. “Public opinion was against me right from the beginning within the first two weeks,” he told Crime Watch Daily in 2015. “Any time I left my house, even when I was with my children… people would say to me horrible things like, ‘You’re a scumbag. You’re a murderer. You tried to have your wife killed.’ People shot at me all the time. One time bullets came past me and they were going right through the glass in my business.”

Mary Jo And Joey Buttafuoco In Hollywood

Barry King / Alamy Stock PhotoMary Jo Buttafuoco stayed with her husband for a decade following the shooting despite Amy Fisher’s claims of infidelity.

Joey Buttafuoco found himself indicted on 19 counts, including charges of statutory rape, sodomy, and endangering the welfare of a child. Initially maintaining his innocence, he eventually changed his plea to guilty after police found evidence of him and Fisher meeting up in hotel rooms to have sex. Buttafuoco received a six-month jail sentence, serving just four months before his release in March 1994.

Following Joey Buttafuoco’s release, Mary Jo decided to stay with her husband, and the couple relocated to California. However, just two years later, he was arrested for soliciting an undercover cop posing as a sex worker, violating his probation and landing him back in jail. Mary Jo finally filed for divorce in 2003.

Life For Joey Buttafuoco After The High-Profile Scandal

Joey Buttafuoco’s life of crime continued, and in 2004, he pleaded guilty to auto insurance fraud, receiving a one-year jail sentence and five years of probation along with a lifetime ban from working in the auto body industry in California. In August 2005, he found himself in legal trouble once again, this time for possession of ammunition.

In 2006, Amy Fisher, Mary Jo Buttafuoco, and Joey Buttafuoco all took part in a dramatic reunion on Entertainment Tonight. The very next year, Buttafuoco and Fisher met for dinner — and soon, the two began dating again. In an interview with The Insider, the couple explained their rekindled relationship.

“I’m not 16 anymore,” Fisher said. “We know we’re unconventional.” However, the fleeting reunion between Buttafuoco and the infamous “Long Island Lolita” was short-lived. Their highly-publicized romance that dominated tabloid headlines turned out to be nothing more than a ruse for financial gain.

Contrary to his previous statements, Buttafuoco seemed to be enjoying the notoriety, and he appeared on various talk shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show. Over the years, Joey has also made appearances on TV shows such as Judge Jeanine Pirro, The Howard Stern Show, and Celebrity Boxing. He also fought against Fisher’s ex-husband, Louis Bellera, during a “Celebrity Fight Night” event in 2011.

Joey Buttafuoco At Celebrity Fight Night Event

AFF / Alamy Stock PhotoJoey Buttafuoco at the “Celebrity Fight Night” event in 2011.

He even ventured into Hollywood, making appearances in the films The Underground Comedy Movie, Finding Forrester, Better Than Ever, and Operation Repo: The Movie. Joey Buttafuoco got married for a second time to a Croatian woman named Evanka Franjko in 2005. He is currently working on a movie about his early life.

“I’m not that kinda guy that’s gonna sit here and blame anything on anything and how I got here,” Joey Buttafuoco told ABC News about his colorful past. “I made my own choices. I made my own life by my choices, whether they were good or they were bad. I made some good choices and I made some bad choices.”

After reading about the life of Joey Buttafuoco, learn about the crimes of Liz Golyar, the spurned lover who killed her romantic rival. Then, go inside another high-profile case: the murder of actor Robert Blake’s wife, Bonny Lee Bakley.

Rivy Lyon
True crime expert Rivy Lyon holds a Bachelor's degree in criminology, psychology, and sociology. A former private investigator, she has also worked with CrimeStoppers, the Innocence Project, and disaster response agencies across the U.S. She transitioned into investigative journalism in 2020, focusing primarily on unsolved homicides and missing persons.
Cara Johnson
A writer and editor based in Charleston, South Carolina and an assistant editor at All That's Interesting, Cara Johnson holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Washington & Lee University and an M.A. in English from College of Charleston and has written for various publications in her six-year career.
Cite This Article
Lyon, Rivy. "The Disturbing Crimes Of Joey Buttafuoco, The ‘Long Island Lothario’ Whose Teenage Lover Shot His Wife.", February 15, 2024, Accessed April 20, 2024.