The defense presented an unconventional argument during the trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, also known as the “Devil Made Me Do It” case. It was the first time a defense attempted to prove innocence in the United States by claiming demonic possession and denying personal responsibility for the crime.
Arne Cheyenne Johnson was convicted of first-degree manslaughter for the November 24, 1981 murder of his landlord, Alan Bono, in Brookfield, Connecticut.
The Devil Made Me Do It
Before the incident with his landlord that inspired The Conjuring 3, Arne Cheyenne Johnson’s record was spotless. He lived in the tranquil Connecticut town of Brookfield and was engaged to Debbie Glatzel. However, their relationship was not devoid of difficulties.
In the year preceding the murder, David, Debbie Glatzel’s 11-year-old brother, began to exhibit odd behavior. He claimed that an old man with large black eyes, a thin face with animal features, jagged teeth, pointed ears, horns, and hooves tormented him. Johnson, who was assisting the Glatzels while staying with them, also heard strange sounds emanating from the attic.
The Glatzels contacted Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators, for assistance. David was discovered to be possessed by a demon, despite multiple psychiatrists having diagnosed him with an intellectual disability. David’s condition deteriorated, and he began to hiss, convulse, and speak in strange voices.
David’s possession persisted despite the involvement of the Church, the Warrens, and several priests. The Warrens allegedly performed three exorcisms on David, during which he allegedly levitated and foretold Johnson’s murder. In October, Johnson dared the demon to abandon David and “confront” him.
Johnson asserted that he had investigated the nearby well where David had first encountered the demon. Following this, he began to experience trances, growling, and hallucinations that he later forgot.
The conclusion of The Conjuring 3 occurred on February 16, 1981. Johnson met Glatzel at a dog kennel owned by Johnson’s landlord Alan Bono, who also employed Glatzel. Glatzel was there grooming dogs and had brought along her nine-year-old cousin Mary.
According to reports, Bono became intoxicated and violently grabbed Mary, prompting Glatzel to call for assistance. According to reports, Johnson became enraged and barked like an animal to get Bono off of Mary. In the ensuing altercation, Johnson fatally stabbed Bono in the stomach and chest with a five-inch pocket knife.
Two miles away, Johnson was arrested and brought to trial in November. However, he claimed he had no recollection of the murder because he was possessed at the time. This defense perplexed the courtroom.
“The True Story Behind The Conjuring 3: Demonic Possession, Exorcisms, and a Murder Trial”
Despite claims of demonic possession, neither the Arne Johnson case nor The Conjuring 3 provided evidence linking it to the murder of Bono. On November 24, 1981, Johnson was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter and sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.
Ed and Lorraine Warren were present at Arne Johnson’s trial in both the movies and in real life. Their participation in the case contributed to the sensationalism surrounding the trial and claims of demon possession.
Ed and Lorraine Warren, the paranormal investigators involved in the Arne Johnson case, have been questioned regarding their credibility. While some view them as credible and genuinely interested in investigating the supernatural, others view them as con artists who took advantage of people’s fears and paranormal beliefs.
Arne Johnson served five years in prison and earned his high school diploma while incarcerated. His release at age 24 was followed by his marriage to his fiancée, Glatzel.