Netflix's chilling new documentary film, The Devil on Trial, recounts the infamous 1981 murder trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, who claimed he had murdered his landlord while under the influence of demonic forces.
The story made national news at the time and led to a historic case, which was the first and only time "demonic possession" has officially been used as a defense in a murder trial. But what exactly happened and where is Arne Johnson now? Here's all we know…
What did Arne Johnson do?
On November 24, 1981, in Connecticut, Arne Cheyenne Johnson was convicted of first-degree manslaughter for the killing of his landlord, Alan Bono, who was stabbed repeatedly with a pocket knife.
At his trial, which began on 28 October 1981 at Connecticut's Superior Court in Danbury, Arne's lawyer Martin Minnella attempted to enter a plea of 'not guilty' due to demonic possession.
However, presiding judge Robert Callahan immediately threw out the plea, meaning the jury was not allowed to consider demonic possession.
Arne claimed that he was possessed by a demon that came from the exorcism of David Glatzel, who was the 11-year-old brother of his girlfriend Debbie Glatzel.
His defense relied on testimonies from Debbie's family and featured witnesses who said they saw the demon flee David's body and take residence in Arne's.
The trial, which became known as the 'Devil Made Me Do It' trial, drew the attention of self-proclaimed demonologists and paranormal investigators and sparked a media frenzy surrounding the case.
Following three days of jury deliberation, Johnson was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to between ten and 20 years in prison.
Where is Arne Johnson now?
In 1986, Arne Johnson was released from prison on good behavior after serving five years.
While in prison, Arne got his high school diploma and married his girlfriend Debbie. They went on to welcome two children together.
Although Arne has kept a low profile since his release, paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren did reveal prior to her death in 2019 that he was working for a landscaper.
Arne's story was the inspiration behind the 2021 horror film, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.
What is The Devil on Trial about?
The official logline reads: "The Devil on Trial explores the first — and only — time “demonic possession” has officially been used as a defense in a US murder trial. Including firsthand accounts of alleged devil possession and a shocking murder, this extraordinary story forces reflection on our fear of the unknown."
The documentary features "firsthand accounts and actual recordings of alleged devil possession to tell an extraordinary story about a family that lost control", according to Tudum.
The Devil on Trial is available to stream on Netflix from October 17.