On May 19, 1992, Mary Jo Buttafuoco was inside her home in Massapequa, New York, when the doorbell rang. Seconds later, she was standing face to face with Amy Fisher, a 17-year-old high school student who had been having an affair with her husband, Joey.
The pair had a heated exchange, and as it was seemingly ending, Mary Jo Buttafuoco turned away. Moments later, Fisher shot her in the head. Miraculously, Buttafuoco survived the attack, and Fisher — who was dubbed the “Long Island Lolita” by the media — later pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and served seven years in prison.
The Buttafuoco’s nine-year-old daughter, Jessie, was at school when the shooting happened — and didn’t learn about it until a few days later. Now 34, Jessie Buttafuoco is speaking out in a rare interview with Dr. Mehmet Oz on his eponymous TV show.
In the interview, Jessie Buttafuoco recalls the strange days after the shooting.
“I didn’t find out that she was shot until a few days after,” she tells Oz. “Um, now, as an adult looking back, what do you tell a nine-year-old child, you know, when they didn’t even know what was going on at the time? So they had told me that she had fallen on a nail while painting in the backyard.”
“I was at school, and I was about to audition for my third grade play that I was about to slay, and, um, I got a phone call that said I needed to get picked up early,” she continues. “And then my aunt and my uncle were there and usually, you know, a parent picks you up from school, especially from third grade, and Mom wasn’t there.
“When I asked where she was, no one would tell me and everyone just looked terrified,” she recalls. “Every adult around, every aunt, every uncle, anybody that was, you know, there looked just completely terrified and confused. And I just remember looking around and having this feeling that something is really wrong here, no one’s telling me why, and I’m not really believing this nail story.”
Dr. Oz also speaks with Mary Jo Buttafuoco, who is now remarried and has changed her name to Mary Jo Connery.
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When Dr. Oz asked Connery how the scandal affected her daughter, she became pensive — and said she tried to remain strong for her children.
“It saddens me and breaks my heart. It breaks my heart,” she tells the show. “I said I was like a schizophrenic in all those years when they were growing up. I was Mom when they were around in our home and Mom’s okay and Mom’s great, and Mom wasn’t good at all. Mom was a wreck. Mom was in pain and agony. My husband was in jail some of the time. It was chaotic.”
Jessie Buttafuoco agrees that her mother demonstrated how strong she was during the scandal. “She was still taking me to soccer practice and dance class and showing up to my basketball games and my school performances,” she says. “She was a mom. She made sure to be that.”