Arne Cheyenne Johnson The Unearthly Claim
When Arne Cheyenne Johnson was arrested mere hours after fatally stabbing his friend, Alan Bono, it seemed like an open-and-shut case. However, what followed was a sensational trial that captivated the world and even inspired a hit movie. Johnson, only 19 at the time, shocked everyone by asserting that he was possessed by the Devil.
Arne Cheyenne Johnson’s shocking claim was that an evil entity had taken control of his body during the exorcism of his girlfriend’s 11-year-old brother, David. This marked the first instance of someone using demonic possession as a legal defense in a US court. His story was supported by celebrity ghosthunters Ed and Lorraine Warren, who investigated the boy’s “possession” and assisted the family in organizing an exorcism.
The Unwavering Support
Debbie Glatzel, Johnson’s partner, staunchly believed in his innocence and even married him in prison following his 1981 manslaughter conviction. The Glatzel family also endorsed the Warrens’ version of events, contributing to a book that eventually led to the creation of a 2021 movie, “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.”
The Dark Secrets Unveiled
Now, a new Netflix documentary titled “The Devil On Trial” brings this eerie story to light, featuring exclusive interviews with Arne Johnson, David Glatzel, and his older brothers, Alan and Carl. In the documentary, David Glatzel, now 54, reveals that his childhood possession has remained a deeply buried secret.
The Haunting Begins
David’s childhood seemed normal until July 1980 when his older sister Debbie, along with her fiancé Arne Cheyenne Johnson, moved into a strange house near their family home in Brookfield, Connecticut. The moment he set foot in the house, David sensed something was off. While sweeping a bedroom, he claimed to have been pushed onto the bed and saw a horrifying figure that resembled the Devil from a Halloween costume. The figure had solid black eyes, and it terrified him.
The Disturbing Events
David shared his disturbing encounter with his family, but initially, they dismissed it as a bad dream. However, when he claimed to see a dark figure in the woods outside, his mother Judy, a staunch Catholic, became alarmed. She brought in a priest to bless the house.
The night that followed was filled with chilling occurrences – the house rumbled as if hit by a truck, lights flickered, and glass shattered. Convinced of a supernatural presence, Judy sought the help of ghosthunters Ed and Lorraine Warren, who attempted to contact the “demonic entity” by asking it to bang on a table three times. The response was eerie, with a series of loud bangs that shook the entire kitchen.
Desperate to free David from the entity’s grip, the family arranged for an exorcism at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. David’s behavior during the exorcism was nightmarish, with his body contorting and his features changing. The demon’s presence was tangible, and David was violently aggressive.
During the exorcism, Arne Johnson placed a crucifix on David’s forehead and offered himself as a vessel for the demon to leave the boy. Johnson felt an ice-cold sensation and heard Lorraine Warren exclaim, “Oh my God, what did you do?”
The Unimaginable Crime
Five months later, tragedy struck. Debbie and Johnson had an argument with Alan Bono, Debbie’s landlord and boss. In a fit of rage, Johnson stabbed Bono multiple times and fled into the woods, heading for the Glatzel family home. David had a vision of Arne’s actions and knew he was possessed by the Devil. The police were called, and Johnson was arrested.
The Trial and Beyond
Arne Johnson’s trial opened in October 1981. His lawyer, Martin Minella, embraced the defense of demonic possession after meeting the Warrens and listening to David’s tapes. The trial was a media sensation, but the judge rejected the defense, deeming it unprovable and unscientific. Johnson was found guilty of manslaughter and served five years.
Debbie stood by him, and they married in 1985. After the trial, Judy collaborated on a book titled “The Devil In Connecticut” with Lorraine Warren and writer Gerald Brittle. The Warrens capitalized on the story with lectures and TV appearances.
Dark Family Secrets
However, not everyone in the Glatzel family believed in David’s possession. Carl Jr., David’s older brother, claimed that the Warrens embellished the events to exploit the family for money. He also alleged that the family received a meager sum while the Warrens, now both deceased, profited significantly.
In 2007, Carl Jr. and David attempted to sue Lorraine Warren and Gerald Brittle for invasion of privacy, libel, and emotional distress. The family remains haunted by the traumatic events.
A Once-Normal Life Shattered
David, still haunted by his experiences, looks at the photos documenting his episodes and says, “Seeing the pictures, they make me scared again and very sad. I was a normal boy having a good childhood until this happened.”
The story of Arne Cheyenne Johnson remains a chilling testament to the thin line between the supernatural and the unimaginable in the world of true crime.
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