The Brookfield Demon Murder Case Trial occurred in 1981. The trial took place in Connecticut and was the first time a defence attorney wanted to enter a plea of not guilty by demonic possession. What? Yes, there is a backstory and we are going to tell you all about it.
The Back Story-The Brookfield Demon Murder Case
In 1980 a young man named Arne Johnson was dating a young lady named Debbie Glatzel. Debbie had a younger brother named David who was about 11 years old at the time. David began to have difficulties with night terrors and strange behaviour. The story goes that Debbie asked Arne to help the family with the difficult and disruptive behaviours that David began to show at night. So Arne, being a loving and compassionate young man, would stay at the Glatzel family home and do his best to keep David calm. It had been said that David would hiss and growl and speak in Latin reciting verses from the Bible as well as the poem Paradise Lost that was written by John Milton. Now neither of these writings were particularly familiar to the young David and therefore shocked the family. After about 12 nights of dealing with David’s ever increasingly strange behaviours, the Glatzel’s sought help. The priests that were contacted and involved with trying to “cure” young David eventually reached out to well-known demonologist and paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Arne Johnson had at one point challenged the demons that were possessing David by saying something like, ” You demons wouldn’t dare enter me and leave my little buddy alone.” This either happened when Arne was alone with David or it may have occurred during the day’s long exorcism that involved at least three different priests as well as Ed and Lorraine Warren. It was reported by Ed and Lorraine that 43 demons left the body of David during the exorcism. It is believed that at least one of those demons possessed Arne Johnson.
Fast forward to February 1981. Arne and Debbie are now engaged and living together. On President’s Day Arne decides to stay home from work to spend the day with Debbie, his sister Wanda, and Debbie’s young cousin Mary. At the time Debbie had a job at a dog kennel and this is where the group was when their landlord, Alan Bono, decides to take the group out for lunch and drinks. It was reported that Alan Bono consumed a lot of alcohol that afternoon. For some reason, there seemed to be tension between Arne and Alan when the group returned to the dog kennel. Now what happened next is not entirely clear but according to Ed Warren (as you will hear in the video below) Arne left the room and when he returned a couple of moments later he was no longer the Arne that everyone knew. Some of my research has said that Alan grabbed nine-year-old Mary and refused to let go of her. This, or perhaps demonic possession, caused Arne to fatally stab Mr Bono with a pocket knife. Alan Bono died hours later at the hospital and Arne Johnson was arrested for the murder
The Devil Made Me Do It
Martin Minella was the defence attorney that represented Arne Johnson during his murder trial. Mr Minella wanted to enter a plea of not guilty by possession to explain why Arne had stabbed Alan Bono.
”The courts have dealt with the existence of God,” says Martin Minella, the attorney. ”Now they’re going to have to deal with the existence of the Devil.” (March 23, 1981, Dudley Clendinen The New York Times)
Unfortunately, the judge would not allow that plea to be entered. Mr Minella had to enter and argue a plea of self-defence instead. Arne Johnson was found guilty of manslaughter and served 5 years in prison for the stabbing of Alan Bono. It has been stated that if the possession plea had been allowed that Ed and Lorraine Warren were prepared to share evidence and support that Arne had been possessed by a demon and that they had warned Police to watch Arne’s behaviour after the exorcism.
Life after Prison
Arne Cheyenne Johnson went on to marry Debbie Glatzel after his release from prison. He and Debbie are living a quiet life.
My Thoughts on the Brookfield Demon Murder Case
This case and the events that caused it are confusing. Much has been written about it and even a movie of the week was made regarding it. You would think that all that information would make things clearer, but it does not. I am left wondering if Arne Johnson was in fact possessed by a demon when he stabbed Alan Bono is he still possessed? Did the demon enter someone else and leave Arne alone after the murder happened? There has been no mention of an exorcism being performed on Arne anywhere in all of the available material. Are you questioning the validity of the claim of possession like I am? Let us know.
Now to muddy the waters a bit more, watch the video of Ed and Lorraine Warren discussing the case below
Until next time.
The Other Half