The Devil on Trial: What is the Netflix documentary about?

Gabriela Silva
Arne Cheyenne Johnson mugshot in The Devil Made Me Do It

Over the years, Netflix has educated the public on some of America’s most harrowing murder cases and trials, and The Devil on Trial documentary blurs the lines on the possibility of demonic possession.

Movies like The Exorcist instilled fear into global audiences as a seemingly sweet young girl became possessed by a heinous demon. The concept of demonic possession transgressed the lines of religion and reality. Let’s not forget the Satanic Panic craze of the 80s.

Amid the 80s arose some infamous cases like Richard Ramirez, The Night Stalker. But early on, America was stunned by the case of 19-year-old Arne Cheyenne Johnson. He was accused of murder but claimed the devil made him do it. Sound familiar? The case was adapted in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.

Here’s a breakdown of what Netflix’s The Devil on Trial is all about and Johnson’s case.

The Devil on Trial will tell first-hand accounts of Arne Cheyenne Johnson’s story

Netflix’s The Devil on Trial catalogs through the 1981 murder case where Arne Cheyenne Johnson claimed demonic possession forced him to kill his landlord.

According to Netflix, the documentary “recounts the brutal crime that led to this unprecedented legal strategy, incorporating firsthand accounts and actual recordings of alleged devil possession to tell an extraordinary story about a family that lost control.”

Johnson was only 19 at the time when an altercation with his landlord, 40-year-old Alan Bono. It resulted in Johnson murdering him with a knife. On trial, Johnson’s defense caught the attention of everyone in Connecticut and America. He claimed that he only killed Bono due to being demonically possessed. It was the first time it had ever been used as a defense for a murder trial.

The case caught the attention of self-professed demonologists and paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Religion and reality soon melded together. The Devil on Trial will be the first time the case has been investigated from Johnson’s childhood. As well as the events leading to the murder, the trial, and the aftermath. As the story goes, Johnson was possessed after an exorcism of 11-year-old David Glatze, his girlfriend’s younger brother. The failed exorcism by priests brought in the Warrens.

Audiences will even get first-hand accounts from Johnson himself. Netflix’s documentary will have people looking at The Exorcist a bit differently, as everyone is aware there have been documented possession cases long before Johnson.

The Devil on Trial is set to release on Netflix on October 17, 2023.

You can read more Netflix news in our hub here, what really happened in Who Killed Jane Doe here, and Take Care of Maya here.

Sign up to Dexerto for free and receive:
Fewer Ads|Dark Mode|Deals in Gaming, TV and Movies, and Tech