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Man Who Claimed Demonic Possession Released One Month Early

January 23, 1986

BROOKFIELD, Conn. (AP) _ A man who claimed he killed his landlord while possessed by the devil has been released from state prison one month early after serving almost five years as a model prisoner, authorities said.

Arne Cheyenne Johnson, 24, whose story was made into a television movie, married and received a high-school degree in prison. He was released on parole Friday.

The state’s chief of parole said Johnson had been an ″exemplary inmate″ since his Feb. 17, 1981, arrest for fatally stabbing Alan Bono, 40, a day earlier.

Prosecutors said the two had been drinking and began arguing before the stabbing.

Johnson served almost five years of a 10-to-20-year sentence for his November 1981 conviction on a reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter. He was scheduled for parole on Feb. 26, but was released early because of his good behavior, authorities said.

In pre-trial hearings, Johnson claimed he had become possessed by demons after challenging the devil to leave a 12-year-old boy and enter him during an exorcism. He said he killed Bono while under the devil’s spell.

A superior court judge refused to allow Johnson’s defense of innocent by demonic possession. Nevertheless, the case attracted widespread attention; a book was written and a 1983 NBC televisison movie, ″The Demon Murder Case,″ starred Andy Griffith, Cloris Leachman and Kevin Bacon.

While in prison, Johnson married, received a high-school degree, earned several other educational certificates and took a number of college courses, according to Hans Fjelman, chief of parole for the state corrections department.

″He was an exemplary inmate,″ Fjelman said Wednesday. ″His mental condition was carefully examined. They found no negative factors.″

The chairman of the state parole board, Richard Reddington, said the board voted unanimously after a hearing in December to allow Johnson’s release early.

Fjelman said Johnson was released under a program in which he remains under state supervision until 1991. Fjelman said Johnson, a tree surgeon before his arrest, had been offered a job, but he would not say from whom; nor would he say where Johnson would live.

Friends, however, said Johnson would live in Brookfield with the parents of Deborah Glatzel, whom he married in January 1984 at the prison. Ms. Glatzel’s brother, David, was the child on whom the exorcism was performed. She worked at Bono’s Brookfield kennel.

The Glatzel’s telephone number is unlisted and efforts to reach Johnson were unsuccessful. However, Ed and Lorraine Warren of Monroe, demonologists who worked on the case and attended the exorcism, said Wednesday that Johnson and his wife ″were very happy.″

″Arne’s ready to work for a landscaper in town and he’s coming home to live in very good family atmosphere,″ Lorraine Warren said.

Both said Johnson shows no signs of being possessed.

″Possession doesn’t last 24 hours a day,″ Ed Warren said. ″It comes quickly and leaves quickly. Arne understands what happened to him. He now knows if something happens how to ward it off and he won’t be stupid enough to take on the devil again.″