Featured in Netflix’s ‘The Devil on Trial,’ The murder case of Alan Bono has been captivating the interest of the viewers since the day that it first came to light. The 1981 case became the first of its kind in the USA to involve a defense that few had seen before in the modern world. The involvement of supernatural elements and well-known paranormal investigators has allowed this story to never be forgotten by the masses, with various entertainment projects presenting their own take on the happenings in regard to the demise of Alan Bono. But how exactly did he die, and who was responsible for the deed? Well, here is what we know about the same!
How Did Alan Bono Die?
Alan Bono was the manager of the Brookfield Boarding Kennels and was also the landlord to Arne Cheyenne Johnson and Deborah “Debbie” Glatzel. On February 16, 1981, Arne had called in sick at work and decided to spend the day with his girlfriend at the Brookfield Boarding Kennels. Also at the place were Arne’s two sisters, Wanda and Janice Johnson, as well as Debbie’s cousin, Mary. Given his role as the manager, Alan was also there and started to regale everyone else with different stories from his life.
The group apparently had lunch at the local bar, where Alan paid for the meal and allegedly consumed much alcohol. All of them then returned to the kennels, and Alan’s stereo was turned to a very high volume after Arne had repaired it. Meanwhile, Debbie claimed that she had started to feel tense and took the girls to a nearby pizza place but returned shortly afterward. Then Alan allegedly urged everyone to go to his apartment. However, his behavior there, especially his pounding his fist on his palm, compelled everyone to leave.
Those present at the scene claimed that Alan was far from happy that everyone was leaving and grabbed Mary as she tried to leave. Debbie urged him to release her cousin while Arne came back. Though Mary seemingly escaped and ran for the car, Debbie was left alone with the two men. At the end of the encounter, Alan Bono was lying on the floor of his apartment, bleeding from multiple knife wounds, due to which he died hours later.
Who Killed Alan Bono?
According to the witnesses, chief among them being Debbie Glatzel, it was Arne Johnson who had stabbed Alan Bono repeatedly using the 5-inch knife that Arne often had on him. Apparently, before he stabbed Alan, Arne had started to growl like an animal and was seemingly unaware of his surroundings. Following the stabbing, Arne apparently escaped to the nearby woods while Alan lay bleeding in his apartment from “four or five tremendous wounds.”
Arne Johnson’s defense primarily revolved around the idea that he was not in control of his actions when he stabbed Alan. Referring to the prior demon exorcism that Debbie’s brother, David Glatzel, had had last year, a case was made that the demon possessing the young boy had then moved into Arne’s body when he had invited the demon to do so in order to free David. Given the involvement of world-famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, the case caught the attention of the media very quickly, and the subsequent trial became the first one in the USA history where the defense of demonic possession was used.
The trial of Arne Johnson for the murder of Alan Bono began on October 28, 1981. The initial plea submitted by the defense of not guilty due to demonic possession was rejected by the judge. Hence, the defense changed tactics and claimed that Arne’s actions were committed due to self-defense, given the events preceding the fatal stabbing. Arne had been charged with first-degree murder, and the trial against him lasted until November 24, 1981.
However, after 15 hours of deliberations, the jury convicted Arne of first-degree manslaughter. The then 19-year-old’s sentence was announced on December 18, 1981, as Arne was asked to serve 10-20 years in prison. Thanks to his good behavior, Arne was actually released only after five years. Debbie Glatzel continued to support her partner throughout the process and even got married to him while he was in prison.
Debbie passed away in 2021, and Arne continues to claim that his actions were a result of demonic possession. However, Debbie’s brother, Carl Glatzel Jr, seemed to think that Arne’s actions might have been because he was jealous of Alan Bono. In the Netflix documentary, it revealed that while Debbie admitted to having dated Alan once, she claimed that the stabbing had nothing to do with that.
Read More: Where is Arne Cheyne Johnson Now?