A Look Back at Brookfield’s ‘Demonic Possession’ Murder Trial
On the evening of February 16, 1981, Arne Cheyenne Johnson plunged a 5-inch pocket knife into his landlord's chest who died an hour later.
The murder took place at a kennel at 519 Federal Road in Brookfield. The kennel still exists today but under a different name.
Why did Johnson kill his landlord, Alan Bono? His attorney, Martin Minella explained to the court that his client was possessed by the Devil and that he had the evidence to prove it. Back in March of '81, Minella told the New York Times:
The courts have dealt with the existence of God. Now they're going to have to deal with the existence of the Devil.
The back-story tells of Johnson's fiance, Debbie Glatzel's 11-year-old brother, David, who Debbie claimed was possessed by demons. Debbie Glatzel showed Roman Catholic priests and demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren photographs of her brother while explaining:
He would kick, bite, spit, swear -terrible words. He experienced strangling attempts by invisible hands which he tried to pull from his neck, and powerful forces would flop him rapidly head-to-toe like a ragdoll.
Attorney Minella was confident he had the evidence to prove Johnson was possessed by demons and was backed up by four Roman Catholic priests, self-proclaimed demonologists, Lorraine and Ed Warren, David Glatzel's family, and the accused, Arne Johnson himself. Mr. Johnson's mistake, the family and the Warrens say was challenging the Devil to take him on.
He would actually say, 'Come into me - leave the little lad alone.
According to a People Magazine article from October of 1981, Lorraine Warren explained the phenomena that happened before the murder:
While Ed interviewed the boy, I saw a black misty form next to him. Soon the child was complaining that hands were choking him. He said he had the feeling he was being hit.
The judge in Arne Cheyenne Johnson's trial did not allow the "demonic possession" defense to be used in court saying there was no way it could be proven. Arne Cheyenne Johnson was found guilty and served only five years of his 10 to 20 year sentence.
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