The “Devil Made Me Do It” Case
According to a contemporary article from People magazine by Lynne Baranski, in 1981, Arne Cheyenne Johnson was arrested and tried for murdering his landlord, Alan Bono. His defense argued that Johnson was not in control of his actions, not by reason of insanity, but by way of demonic possession.
See, Johnson’s fiancée Debbie Glatzel had a little brother, David, 11 years old at the time, who, after being visited by “a man with big black eyes” that bore a striking resemblance to Satan, began showing signs that he was no longer himself – gaining 60 pounds, growling and hissing, involuntary spasming, speaking in strange voices, and “reciting passages from the Bible or from Milton’s Paradise Lost.”
Rather than seeking psychiatric help immediately, the Glatzels first brought in a priest to bless their house; when that didn’t work, guess who they called? Enter the Warrens, who began making regular visits to the Glatzel house, bringing with them more priests and performing “three lesser exorcisms.” Ed Warren commented that he and Lorraine knew “there were 43 demons in the boy.”
While the priests involved denied any exorcisms had actually transpired in the Glatzel home, David began to show signs of improvement, especially after the boy was placed into counseling and moved to “a private school for disturbed children.” But Johnson was not so lucky, as apparently a few of the demons exorcised from David’s body entered his, eliciting growls and hisses similar to his soon-to-be brother-in-law’s, as well as slipping into “trances” off and on for a period of months before killing Bono with a five-inch pocket knife, stabbing the man over and over as Debbie Glatzel watched.
The “Devil Made Me Do It” plea didn’t work for Judge Robert Callahan or the jury, and Johnson eventually went to prison for his crime. Years later, in 2007, Carl Glatzel, David’s older brother, attempted to sue Lorraine Warren and Gerald Brittle, author of the requisite “true story” book The Devil in Connecticut for unspecified damages. As part of his suit, Glatzel claims his family was manipulated by the Warrens, that they and Brittle “concocted a phony story about demons in an attempt to get rich and famous at [their] expense”—none more so than little David, whose mental illness he feels was exploited for monetary gain. Of course, it should be noted that the Warrens and the other Glatzels might not be the only the only ones looking for a little moolah off the experience: Carl reportedly wrote his own tell-all book, Alone Through the Valley, with Francis Richards. The book doesn’t seem to be available for purchase, but there’s an excerpt still available on an old Geocities site.