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Jurors began deliberations Friday in the murder trial of...

By JAMES V. HEALION

DANBURY, Conn. -- Jurors began deliberations Friday in the murder trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, whose attorney was refused court permission to use a defense that his client was the victim of demonic possession.

Superior Court Judge Robert Callahan told jurors they could convict Johnson of either murder or first-degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of his landlord and friend Alan Bono, 40, Feb. 16.

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Johnson, 19, faces life in prison if convicted for murder.

The jury began deliberations at 3:35 p.m. The panel was sent home for the weekend when it did not reach a verdict by 10 p.m.

In final arguments earlier Friday, State's Attorney Walter D. Flanagan told the jury in Johnson's six day murder trial that if Johnson kicked and punched his live-in girlfriend, he wouldn't hesitate to attack Bono with a knife. 'He abused his girlfriend. Why wouldn't he abuse his friend? We don't know why but we know that he did,' Flanagan said.

Johnson's sister, Janice Johnson, 13, testified that moments before the slaying, she saw her brother kick and punch his girlfriend Debbie Glatzel, 27, who groomed dogs and cats at the Brookfield kennel Bono managed.

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Defense attorney Martin Minnella had tried to argue the devil was responsible for the knife slaying of Bono, 40 -- that Johnson was possessed at the time of the killing. But Judge Robert Callahan ruled the defense was irrelevant and refused to allow it.

Minnella shifted his strategy mid-way through the trial, trying to show Johnson may have killed Bono in self defense.

The state has argued that Johnson killed Bono in a jealous rage over Miss Glatzel, who was Johnson's father's former girlfriend.

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