Demon murder trial

Arne Johnson

In February 1981, 19-year-old Arne Johnson stabbed his landlord Alan Bono to death after a day of drinking and partying that ended at Bono’s apartment at a dog kennel that he ran in Brookfield, CT. It was the first murder ever recorded in the town, and Johnson was put on trial for first-degree manslaughter.

Demonic Possession

At the Connecticut Superior Court at 146 White Street in Danbury a few days before Halloween, Johnson’s lawyer Martin Minella entered a defense of not guilty by reason of demonic possession.

It turns out that a year earlier, the 11-year-old brother of Johnson’s fiancée, who was also on-scene for the Bono murder, was treated for demon possession by various priests and Ed and Lorraine Warren. Johnson was involved in the exorcism and claimed to have been affected because of it.


With support from the Warrens, Minella was prepared to prove that not only did demons exist, but that they physically manipulated his client into committing murder. The judge threw out the defense, though, and the lawyer had to fall back on the more conventional tact of self-defense. Johnson was ruled guilty of manslaughter and served a five-year prison term.

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