One of the strangest trials of all time: Satan sat on the throne

The murder of an owner by his tenant and the line of defense based on demonic possession

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The diary was written on February 16, 1981 when Arne Cheyenne Johnson fatally stabbed his homeowner, Alan Bono.

It would normally be another "typical" murderous, from what we usually say that they became boiling in the soul.

Only this time it was Satan who armed the perpetrator. And so in the seat of the accused would sit, next to the perpetrator, and Eusphorus himself!

Nothing predicted that this murder would unfold in such a way. A simple case seemed at first, a bloody clearing of accounts with perpetrator and victim.

The news spread like a ghost over his Brookfield Connecticut. It was, you see, the first homicide that the quiet city lived in 193 years of its history!

For investigators, the case was simple: the 40-year-old owner was killed by his tenant in a blood feud.

And then the perpetrator murmured the phrase that would bring the whole American press to the small town: "Satan made me do it."

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Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

"The courts have repeatedly dealt with the existence of God," the young man's lawyer, Martin Minnella, told the courtroom. "Now they have to deal with the existence of God as well." Devil».

"Accused of murder puts the devil on trial," the New York Times headline read on March 23, 1981.

It was indeed the first time in the judicial history of the modern world that such a defense would be heard. Today, 40 years later, nothing has been settled, not least in the perfectly just way that justice seeks.

The controversial trial continues to be shrouded in mystery, as if something metaphysical enveloped the room.

What happened to Arne Johnson?

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On February 16, 1981, Arne Cheyenne Johnson fatally stabbed his landlord Alan Bono. It was the first murder ever recorded in the nearly two centuries of Brookfield history, a shocking event for the local community.

Before the murder, Johnson was a typical young man of his time. Nothing remarkable was recorded about him, nothing reprehensible. He did not even have a criminal record.

But he had a strange story to tell in the months that preceded and ended in the mysterious murder. As heard on courtroom, the source of all the troubles of the 19-year-old was the 11-year-old brother of his fiancée, Debbie Glatzel.

Last summer (1980), Debbie's younger brother, David, claimed to have repeatedly met an old man who scared him. Nobody believed the little one, but the meetings became more and more frequent. And more violent.

David ended up waking up with hysterical cries and describing vivid visions of "a man with big black eyes, a slender face with animal features and serrated teeth, pointed ears, horns and hooves", as the report of the time tells us .

Not long after, the family asked the parish priest to bless their home. In vain, however, the visions continued. And then they called the famous pair of paranormal researchers, Ed and Lorraine Warren themselves!

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The over 10.000 creepy ghost stories and demons that the couple have taken on in their lives have sparked horror movies and the list goes on and on.

"He kicks, bites, spits, curses with terrible words," the family now said of the child, now all convinced that he had been possessed by some dark force, "experiencing attempts strangulation from invisible hands, which he tries to get out of his throat, and powerful forces turn him upside down like a doll ".

Johnson was now living with his fiancée's family, as any helping hand was welcome. The little one's nightmares at night were now taking place in the light of day.

David now described the man as "an old man with a white beard, wearing a flannel shirt and jeans". As the strange visions continued, so did the mysterious sounds in the attic.

At some point the little one began to have convulsions and seizures, making strange noises and quoting verses from Bible and John Milton's "Paradise Lost." Thoroughly investigating the case, the Warrens concluded with their familiar determination that we do indeed have a clear history of demonic possession.

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A team of psychiatrists who examined the child concluded, of course, that David was just suffering from a mild learning disability. Their own version, however, was not as appealing as demon possession.

The Warrens were recruited to perform three consecutive exorcisms, always in the presence of a priest, and their descriptions are very reminiscent of "Exorcist». Eight years ago the film was released and, if we have to say, it had a lot of Warren in its script.

From the sad events we must keep one thing: how, as Ed stated, in another terrifying vision of David, the little one prophesied the murder that Johnson would commit a little later.

Living in such a climate, until October 1980 Johnson became so passionate with demons who began threatening Satan to leave his fiancé brother alone. "Take me, leave my little friend alone", he was screaming now…

Johnson the killer

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The 19-year-old worked as an assistant to a dendrologist. Bono ran a kennel. The two men were friends, as the reports wished, and met often in their daily lives. His fiancée also worked at kennel and their contacts were frequent.

On February 16, 1981, however, a fierce quarrel broke out between them. At 6:30 p.m., Johnson pulled a large knife out of his pocket and aimed it at Bono. The victim carried multiple knives to his chest and stomach and was left helpless to die of uncontrollable bleeding.

Police arrested Johnson an hour later. They even initially stated that the quarrel concerned the young man's fiancée. But Warren claimed from the beginning that this story has juice. And certainly much more than a skirmish that went wrong.

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Warren knew natural things and situations. Shortly before the crime, Johnson had gone to investigate that well that little David constantly cited as the point of his first encounter with the evil spirit that had turned their lives upside down.

Warren advised him not to approach the well, but he did not listen to them. He wanted to see if the demons would move into his own body, after the threats he fired daily. And it happened!

According to Johnson, he did see one demon to hide in the well and haunted him. And while the police investigated Warren's allegations of demons and paranormal states, he preferred to stay in the version of the fight for the engagement…

The trial of Satan

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Johnson's key attorney, Martin Minnella, was at odds with his work. And he tried from the first moment to acquit him of the charges by pressing exactly on the demonic possession. "Innocent due to demons," he declared his client in the courtroom, leaving embarrassed judges and a courtroom.

He even threatened to summon priests to the hall to talk about exorcisms, begging them to break with tradition and publicly describe the controversial ritual.

Hers was a comically tragic mix. Opponents mocked Minnella and Warren at every opportunity, and the scientific witnesses called by the accuser could not hide their smiles.

"They put on a great theatrical number, a good show," said mentalist George Kresge, believing that only clinical psychologists should testify to this "parody," as he put it.

Ο judge Robert Callahan has denied Minnella's allegations of demon's client innocence. Such a defense would be impossible to prove what he is trying to prove, he protested in the courtroom.

After all, any such testimony can only be unscientific. And so irrelevant to what is happening in a courtroom.

Minnella failed to secure the co-operation of the four clergymen who took part in little David's three exorcisms, but the Diocese of the region acknowledged that "clergymen worked to help David Glatzel in a difficult time."

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At the same time forbidding the priests to open their mouths for any involvement in the case.

Johnson's legal team then turned to something else: the victim's clothes. The absence blood and tears, he now claimed, indicated that the crime had been committed with demonic involvement.

Despite their tactics, no one in the room seemed convinced. And so they changed their line. It was now legal self-defense. But it was too late. The judge, meanwhile, barred jurors from considering demonic possession as a possible motive for the homicide.

Even so, the jury took more than 15 hours to reach a verdict. Johnson was finally convicted on Nov. 24 of premeditated manslaughter and sentenced to 10-20 years in prison. Examined only 5.

He was a model prisoner, according to the penitentiary authorities, he was described as a "food model" and was released at the end of January 1986.

From reportage of the AR agency at that time we learn that when he was in prison he got married, got his diploma from school and attended a number of seminars and university courses.

"His mental state was carefully examined. "They did not find any negative factors," said Hans Fjelman, head of state suspensions. Promising to remain under state control until 1991.

He also said that he had found a job before he was released from prison. He did not reveal where he would live when he crossed the railings. But nothing is hidden.

The AP report, quoting relatives and friends, caught a sea bass: Johnson returned to Brookfield and lived again in his fiancée's parents' house. He, who was now his wife, married her in January 1984 in prison.

As for Deborah Glatzel, she worked as before at the Bono kennel. In an interview a few years later, she hastened to state that her husband's biggest mistake was the fact that he caused the "Beast" that had haunted her brother:

"You never take that step. You never challenge him Satan. "Arne began to show the same signs as my brother when he was under demonic possession."