The “demonic” true story behind ‘The Devil on Trial’
(Credit: Netflix)


The “demonic” true story behind ‘The Devil on Trial’

As we approach Halloween in 2023, Netflix is set to unveil The Devil on Trial, a documentary that explores the unsettling and captivating true story behind the third instalment of The Conjuring.

In 2021, the third instalment of the popular franchise, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, once again delved into the eerie realm of the supernatural. Just like its predecessors, this film was inspired by a spine-chilling true story – the first person in the United States to employ the defence of “the devil made me do it” in a murder trial. 

The Devil on Trial promises an unsettling journey into the darkest corners of human belief and the macabre. The film is poised to shed light on a legal defence strategy that once sent shockwaves through the American legal system. 

The documentary will offer firsthand accounts of alleged demonic possession and the chilling murder it led to.

The truth behind ‘The Devil on Trial’: “The devil made me do it”

The case at the heart of The Devil on Trial was one of the most sensational murder trials of the 1980s. Arne Cheyenne Johnson found himself at the centre of a gruesome murder when he brutally stabbed his landlord during a party using a five-inch folding knife. What set this case apart was Johnson’s audacious legal defence: not guilty by virtue of demonic possession. In the eyes of the law, he claimed, “The devil made me do it.”

Johnson was convicted, ultimately serving five years of a ten to twenty-year prison sentence. But the haunting tale began months before the murder. 

David, the eleven-year-old brother of Johnson’s girlfriend, experienced a series of inexplicable and terrifying events. David reported seeing a sinister figure looming at the foot of his bed. Soon, he began having night terrors, spilling over to the days well. He would speak in Latin, levitate allegedly, and wake up with mysterious scratches and bruises.

Desperate for help, David’s family turned to paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens, whose experiences with malevolent entities spanned the globe, considered the ‘Connecticut Devil’ to be one of their most formidable and potentially deadly adversaries.

They sought assistance from numerous Catholic priests in their pursuit of a formal exorcism for David. This intense process extended over several days and reportedly concluded with the expulsion of a demon from the child’s body, unsettlingly finding refuge within Johnson. These disturbing events were documented in Gerald Brittle’s book, The Devil In Connecticut.

Directed by Christopher Holt, The Devil on Trial promises to deliver an unparalleled exploration of a case that challenges conventional beliefs and blurs the line between the earthly and the infernal.

The Devil on Trial is scheduled to premiere on Netflix on October 17th, 2023.