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CRIME HUNTER: Surviving Long Island Lolita Amy Fisher, Joey Buttafuoco


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Long Island Lolita Amy Fisher was one of the leading lights in the constellation of 1990s tabloid superstars.

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Her pompadoured paramour, the much-married Joey Buttafuoco, was the Long Island Olivier in this sordid drama involving the teen temptress.

And then there were the victims: Buttafuoco’s wife, Mary Jo, and his two young children, Jessie and Paul.

Today, Fisher and Buttafuoco remain on the neon fringe of American public tawdriness.

Thursday marks the 30th anniversary of Mary Jo’s shooting.

Mary Jo Buttafuoco was the intended victim. HANDOUT/ NASSAU COUNTY POLICE
Mary Jo Buttafuoco was the intended victim. HANDOUT/ NASSAU COUNTY POLICE

“On May 19, 1992, Amy Fisher came to my front door, knocked on the door, and talked to my mother for a few minutes and, as they were wrapping up their conversation my mom went to turn inside,” Jessie Buttafuoco told The Toronto Sun.

Fisher pulled a .22 calibre handgun from her pocket and fired, striking Mary Jo in the ear before settling at the base of her spine.

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And that was the beginning of a drama that riveted America and the world. The New York tabloids dubbed the 16-year-old Fisher “the Long Island Lolita” and for months, then years afterward jumped on anything to do with Fisher and Buttafuoco.

The New York newspapers turned the shooting into a tabloid spectacle for the ages. NY DAILY NEWS
The New York newspapers turned the shooting into a tabloid spectacle for the ages. NY DAILY NEWS

Jessie Buttafuoco was just 9-years-old at the time and the drama would shape her life.

Amy Fisher was a high school student who became obsessed with mechanic Joey Buttafuoco. She was 17, he was 36.

Now, Jessie is telling her truth to the new podcast Post-Traumatic Thriving with Dr. Randall Bell and Tanya Brown (sister of Nicole Brown Simpson).

At the time of the shooting, Jessie was in school auditioning for the lead in a play. By the end of the day, her world was shattered.

Joey had kicked his teen lover to the curb — and Fisher was white with rage.

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Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco. NYS DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS/ GETTY IMAGES
Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco. NYS DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS/ GETTY IMAGES

On a daily basis, the New York papers hit with bombshell headlines: Young Gun, Lethal Lolita, Call Girl By Night and Joey Gets His, among countless others.

Fisher pleaded guilty to first-degree aggravated assault and served seven years in prison. Paroled in 1999, Fisher became a writer, then a webcam model, a porn star and a stripper.

Joey served four months on a six-month sentence after pleading guilty to statutory rape.

Always good for a headline. PEOPLE
Always good for a headline. PEOPLE

Always by his side were his children and wife Mary Jo. Two years after the shooting, they tried for a new start in California but she would eventually pull the pin in 2003, calling her former husband a “sociopath.”

But for Jessie Buttafuoco, the following decades were tough and she told The Toronto Sun, she kept one step ahead of the demons slowly encircling her.

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“At the time, my life changed dramatically … going from one of the spectrum to the other overnight, and it was a very difficult landscape to navigate,” she said. “There were the paparazzi and the police. You’re walking around a movie set and you’re meeting the kid who’s playing you … it desensitizes you.”

For years, she beat off the black dogs of depression and anxiety with achievement. Whether it was sports, school or her career, Jessie strived to be the best but could never shake THAT last name, a tabloid scarlet letter.

Jessie Buttafuoco: Trying to live down something she didn’t do. JESSIE BUTTAFUOCO/ INSTAGRAM
Jessie Buttafuoco: Trying to live down something she didn’t do. JESSIE BUTTAFUOCO/ INSTAGRAM

“People would meet me and remember meeting Joey Buttafuoco’s daughter and I would be as sweet as I could be to combat all the hatred directed at my family,” she said.

When the shooting happened, there was zero mental health assistance for people who were traumatized by crime. Jessie, instead, learned to cope. But coping meant eating disorders, booze, and diet pills.

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Four years ago, a life of physical, mental and emotional trauma all came crashing down.

She has told the tale a multitude of times for a slew of TV shows. Not one has offered any kind of mental assistance leading to more trauma.

As for the true crime genre, Jessie admits she’s a fan but wants to be a pioneer in helping the subjects who are readily exploited by the media.

“The exploitation part of it bothers me. I’ve had producers ask me to stop telling the story and ‘do it again and cry this time,’” she said.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Jessie remains close with her mother.

As for her infamous father, Jessie said Joey Buttafuoco remains “toxic” and two years ago she “cut him off completely” because “his toxicity had been bleeding into my life for way too long.”

The 39-year-old now lives in California and is finishing a doctorate and writing her memoir.

She has never spoken to Amy Fisher even though she tried to reach the Long Island Lolita when she was guest on Howard Stern’s show. Fisher walked off the set.

“It’s unfortunate how her life has turned out. She grew up with a lot of abuse and mental illness,” Jessie said. “Amy needed help and didn’t get it.”

bhunter@postmedia.com

@HunterTOSun

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