Ed and Lorraine Warren are back with more frights in this third installment to the main Conjuring universe, “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It”. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return as demonologists and paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren. This time around they’re investigating a murder that is tied into demonic possession.
Just like the previous two films, this one dives into another bizarre “true story”, centering around the trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson. Also known as the “Devil Made Me Do It” case, this is the first known court case in United States history in which the defendant pleads not guilty due to demonic possession. I thought about reviewing this film, but instead I thought it would be great to revisit the true story of Arne Johnson’s trial.
It began in Brookfield, Connecticut, when 19-year-old Arne Johnson was charged for murdering his 40-year-old landlord, Alan Bono. Johnson’s girlfriend Debbie Glatzel and her 9-year-old cousin, Mary were hanging out with Johnson, Johnson’s younger sister Wanda, and a drunk and aggressive Bono. In an interview with the Washington Post, Wanda said that Bono grabbed Mary’s wrist and refused to let go. It was at that moment when Johnson began to stab him to death. It was reportedly the first murder to occur in Brookfield in 193 years.
During the pre-trial hearings, Johnson claimed that he became possessed during an exorcism after he challenged a demon to leave Debbie’s 12-year-old brother’s body and enter his. The Warrens were also present at the ritual and have been heavily involved in the trial, supporting Arne’s innocence. Lorraine even said that “Johnson leaped up and cried to the demon, ‘Come into me, I’ll fight you, come into me,’”.
A superior court judge refused to allow Johnson’s lawyer, Martin Minnella to use demonic possession as a defense. Johnson was sentenced 10 to 20 years in prison, but was released after only serving five years for good behavior. Chief parole of the state’s corrections department, Hans Fjelmen said he was “an exemplary inmate”. While in prison he married Debbie and received a high school diploma, earned several other educational certificates, and took a number of college courses.
The mystery behind this case and whether there’s any truth to demonic possession only makes this real life tale all the more fascinating. Ed and Lorraine Warren have both noted that Arne is no longer possessed and is living happily with his wife Debbie.
″Arne’s ready to work for a landscaper in town and he’s coming home to live in very good family atmosphere.”