A Look Back at Brookfield’s Demonic Possession Murder Trial
In October of 1981 in Brookfield, CT, Arne Johnson claimed he killed his landlord because he was possessed by demons.
Flash back to February 16, 1981, shortly after 6 PM, when a tree surgeon named Arne Cheyenne Johnson approached his landlord Alan Bono while Johnson's fiance, Debbie Glatzel looked on. As Glatzel watched in horror, Johnson produced a 5 inch pocket knife and repeatedly plunged it into Bono's chest. He died an hour later.
When State Superior Court convened on October 28, 1981, Johnson, the murder suspect, pleaded not guilty due to demonic possession. The New York Times called it "The Devil Made Me Do It" case, and as far as anyone knew, this defense had never been used before.
The story goes that Debbie Glatzel's 11-year-old brother, David, was possessed by demons. After several attempts by Roman Catholic priests to exorcize David of those demons, the defendant, Arne Johnson, with the help of known Demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, gave it a try by taunting the demons to enter his body.
According to Johnson's attorney, Martin Minnella and the Warrens, the demons left David Glatzel's body and proceeded to enter Johnson's body, which caused him to murder Alan Bono. The following is a video of Ed and Lorraine Warren explaining the situation.
According to an article in People Magazine in October 1981, Lorraine Warren told what 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.
After the so called demons had taken up residence in Johnson's body, his fiance Debbie told People:
Arne would often times slip into a trance. He would growl and say he saw the beast and later say he had no memory of it.
The bottom line is that the judge wasn't buying the demonic possession defense, saying there was no way to prove it. Johnson was convicted of manslaughter and served five years of his 10 to 20 year sentence. This adventure was turned into an NBC made-for-TV movie titled, The Demon Murder Case. Author Gerald Brittle who wrote the book, The Devil in Connecticut, claims to have over 100 hours of interviews from the Glatzel family who swear that both David Glatzel and Arne Johnson were indeed possessed by demons.