However inviting and ghastly you found Bravo’s thriller series Dirty John, it be nothing when in contrast with the genuine-existence legend that impressed the order. When Debra Newell met John Meehan for dinner at a candlelit California restaurant in October 2014 following a string of uninspiring first dates, something felt varied. He became as soon as intelligent, charismatic, carried out, and looked basically drawn to her. After four failed marriages, she felt maybe she had found “the genuine inform.”
But over the subsequent weeks and months, Meehan slowly printed himself to be the very opposite: A pathological liar with an horrifying temper, a criminal past, and a protracted history of conning, manipulating, and abusing ladies folks. In a six-fragment legend for The Los Angeles Instances and the accompanying podcast Dirty John, reporter Christopher Goffard chronicles how Debra’s dream man became a waking nightmare for her and her household.
If you haven’t read Goffard’s articles or heard the podcast but, rectify that straight. Seriously. Gain it now. With that disclaimer in mind, right here’s a chronological timeline summarizing the principle events within the horrifying appropriate saga within the support of Dirty John.
March Eight, 1984
Cindi Newell is murdered by her husband of Thirteen years.
Twenty years before the events of Dirty John, Debra Newell’s sister Cindi became as soon as shot and killed by her husband, Billy Vickers. The couple became as soon as within the process of keeping apart, and the execute took order within the kitchen of the home they’d correct supplied in Laguna Niguel, California. Billy shot Cindi within the support of the head at cease vary, then shot himself within the stomach and known as emergency products and companies.
At trial, Cindi’s mother Arlane Hart testified in Billy’s protection, explaining that she cherished him and failed to factor in he had been in his correct mind when he shot and killed her daughter. Per The LA Instances, prosecutor Thomas Avdeef became as soon as anxious by Arlane’s testimony, which he interpreted as painting Cindi in a negative light. “They threw her below the bus,” Avdeef talked about, regarding Arlane and other family members who gave testimony. “I don’t know the dynamics of the household. I’ll perchance perchance maybe never bear in mind that. Why command corrupt issues regarding the sufferer?”
The jury acquitted Billy of execute, nonetheless deadlocked on the lesser price of voluntary manslaughter, which Billy within the crash pleaded responsible to in alternate for a five-year sentence. He became as soon as launched in 1986 after serving lower than three years in penal complex.
Cindi’s loss of life, as you’d quiz, had a profound impact on her younger sister Debra. “It became as soon as the explanation Debra hated firearms,” Goffard writes. “It became as soon as the explanation she refused to dangle one spherical, long after other folks began warning her that she well-known one.”
John Meehan marries his first wife.
John married nurse Tonia Sells at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dayton, Ohio. On the time, she became as soon as 25 and he became as soon as 31, even though he told her that he became as soon as 26. None of John’s household attended the marriage ceremony; he outlined that his of us had been addicts and he didn’t desire them to extinguish the marriage ceremony. The couple had two daughters, and Tonia helped place John by way of nursing college.
Tonia discovers the reality about John.
After ten years of marriage, John told Tonia he wanted a divorce. Tonia tracked down John’s mother, Dolores, even though he had constantly forbidden Tonia from contacting her. Dolores printed that John lied about his birthday and his chunky starting up title, and that he had a drug price against him in California.
After taking a be taught the Ohio home they shared, Tonia found John’s hidden offer of surgical anesthetic medication, which she knew he had no reason to agree with start air the hospital. She told the police, who began an investigation of John in September 2000.
One more investigation into John begins.
Dennis Luken, an investigator for the Warren County Sheriff’s Location of job in Ohio, began taking a be taught into John after hospital workers reported seeing him carry a gun into the operating room and rob Demerol he’ll deserve to had been administering to a affected person. Per The LA Instances, Luken later known as John “basically the most devious, unsafe, unfounded person I ever met.”
John is stripped of his license to work as a nurse anesthetist.
Police searched his home and positioned a loaded gun and forty five empty containers for six varied prescription medications, per The Dayton Day-to-day Files.
After attempting to evade arrest, John goes to penal complex.
John pleaded responsible to criminal drug theft, nonetheless reasonably than surrendering to authorities, he fled the order and checked true into a resort in Michigan, the build police found him unconscious and surrounded by drug vials. Right here’s how Goffard describes what came next:
The ambulance became as soon as rushing him to the hospital when he unbuckled his restraints, grabbed the drug equipment and jumped into the avenue. He fled true into a cease-by J.C. Penney, scrambled atop a cargo elevator and into the shaft, and kicked a cop within the face. They finally handcuffed him when he tumbled to the bottom, lined in grease, and knocked himself unconscious.
John became as soon as sentenced to as a lot as six years in penal complex in Michigan for resisting arrest and possession of instruments. He served 17 months and became as soon as launched in 2004.
John begins his rein of dread against other ladies folks.
John pleaded responsible to stalking a Laguna Coastline lady, whom he met within the hospital when she became as soon as recuperating from brain surgical operation. He launched himself as her anesthesiologist, and as well they dated for a period, till she became unhappy with his ideas that she transfer money into his financial institution story “to conceal it from her estranged husband.” When she ended their relationship, he despatched her threatening messages and intimate photos of her to her household.
John meets Debra Newell.
John became as soon as launched from penal complex on October Eight after serving time for violating a restraining picture. Two days later, he met inner clothier Debra Newell on an over-50s dating residing.
John and Debra went to a cafe in Irvine, California, for their first date. He told her he’d served as an anesthesiologist in Iraq and spent a year with Clinical doctors Without Borders. “He tended to dangle all the pieces on my checklist that I became as soon as buying for,” Debra told Fox5. “I liked that he became as soon as a doctor, that he had been winning serving to other folks, and then when he talked about he had been to Iraq, Clinical doctors Without Borders, that impressed me also.”
Their relationship developed like a flash, and Debra became as soon as “swept off her feet on story of he knew what to affirm. All the pieces became as soon as so calculated.” She became as soon as appealing to miss some extraordinary quirks—John wore his medical scrubs all over, even to formal events, and claimed to build now not dangle any money on story of all of his earnings went to his youngsters—nonetheless her daughters had been abruptly suspicious.
“I told my mom she’d better accumulate this fade out of the home or I don’t understanding on residing alongside side her,” Debra’s older daughter Jacquelyn talked about on the Dirty John podcast. Debra’s younger daughter Terra became as soon as also unhappy with John, nonetheless at the starting build became as soon as less vocal.
Tensions upward push with the Newells as Debra and John transfer in collectively.
Debra and John moved true into a home collectively on Balboa Island in Newport Coastline. The home became as soon as in Debra’s title alone on story of John didn’t desire his title on the lease. The stress between John and Debra’s daughters came to a head the day before Thanksgiving, when Terra found the couple had been residing collectively and confronted her mom. Goffard describes this incident:
Right here came John, abruptly remodeled by rage. Why became as soon as Terra snooping by way of his stuff? Why became as soon as she making an strive to rob Debra from him? Did she realize that youngsters desires to be smacked for this?
Terra screamed at her mother: “How would possibly perchance perchance maybe you let this man compare with me look after this?!”
Terra left, badly shaken, with the sickening feeling that her mother became as soon as deciding on John over her.
John and Debra marry.
No matter the ongoing household power, Debra and John married in Las Vegas after lower than two months of dating, while Debra became as soon as there on a industrial outing. The ceremony took order at a courthouse, and no pals had been invited.
Debra discovers the reality about John.
Debra’s nephew Shad—Cindi’s son—known as her to elevate concerns about John, revealing that he had served time in penal complex and had lied about being an anesthesiologist.
Though Debra acted unconcerned to Shad, she privately began taking a be taught by way of John’s paperwork, and positioned proof of his long history of seducing, conning and harassing ladies folks. Per Goffard:
From 2005 to 2014 — from regarding the time he bought out of penal complex in Michigan for drug theft to the time he met Debra Newell in California—he had seduced, swindled and skittish just a few ladies folks, plenty of whom he had met on dating sites while posing as a doctor, court records confirmed.
By the level they married in December 2014, three separate ladies folks spherical Southern California had standing restraining orders against him; nowadays, as a minimum three others had requested them.
Debra found printouts from internet sites on which ladies folks shared facts about unsafe men, with scores of warnings about John: “Gain now not let this man into your existence,” one comment talked about, while but any other known as him a con artist and a “traditional psychopath.” She also found that he had a nickname, dating support to his transient time at law college: Dirty John.
“He became as soon as on the general this extraordinary, lone-wolf man that did each and each fabricate of terrifying-form issues, and it wasn’t correct with ladies folks,” a venerable classmate of John’s, Kevin Horan, told The LA Instances. “‘That man, you would possibly perchance perchance maybe’t belief him for nothing. He’s detestable high to bottom.”
Tremendously stunned, Debra moved out of the Balboa Island home, taking motivate of John’s absence while he became as soon as in hospital for support surgical operation.
Debra and John reconcile.
After months of messages and mobile telephone calls wherein John begged Debra to expend him support and told her he well-known her, the couple bought support collectively. He had an reason of all the pieces, Debra outlined on the Dirty John podcast. “He constantly had a legend. He told me that he had lied on story of he belief he’d lose me, that he feels so lucky that I’m such a forgiving person, I’m the esteem of this existence, that I’ve made him a better person.” Debra and John moved true into a unique home in Irvine.
Debra cuts John out of her existence.
After a year and three months of marriage, Debra’s peaceful has suspicions, and is extra and further extra unhappy with John’s habits and her estrangement from her agree with household. The stress between Jacquelyn and John had worsened, as Goffard writes:
He didn’t even desire her seeing her youngsters, particularly Jacquelyn, who had been so vocal in her contempt for him. One day he caught Debra sneaking away to leer her and talked about he’d throw Jacquelyn within the ocean if it came about again.
Debra reached her breaking level in March, and filed to annul the marriage in April. John, now residing in Nevada, began sending her threatening messages, traumatic money and promising to extinguish her. She requested a restraining picture, nonetheless an Orange County judge denied the quiz. There became as soon as no drawing near near threat, they dominated, on story of John lived in but any other order and had never bodily harmed her. She reduce John off and stopped taking his calls and messages.
June 11, 2016
John steals Debra’s automobile in an are attempting and abolish it.
Debra’s Jaguar disappeared from its parking self-discipline in front of her order of industrial in Irvine, and surveillance pictures confirmed John stealing it. The auto became as soon as later found a block away, soaked in gasoline and with light fire spoil—John had tried and failed to situation it fully alight.
August 20, 2016
John assaults Terra start air her home building.
Jacquelyn known as Terra to warn her that John became as soon as in metropolis; the previous evening she’d seen him waiting start air her (Jacquelyn’s) home building in Irvine. That evening, Terra returned home from work and parked her automobile within the lot start air her Newport Coastline home building. As she bought out of the auto, John approached her from within the support of and attacked her with a knife.
“He became as soon as making an strive to push me into the auto,” Terra told Dateline. “I attempted to build up a ways from him, I became as soon as screaming, and he place his hand over my mouth and I bit as now not easy as I’ll perchance perchance maybe.”
“It bore no resemblance to an even fight,” Goffard notorious: John became as soon as 6’2”, and even though he had lost well-known weight over contemporary weeks, he became as soon as peaceful remarkable better than Terra. But as she and John wrestled on the bottom, Terra became as soon as in a process to protect herself in fragment thanks to the heavy rain boots she became as soon as carrying, which had a thick tread. For the length of the fight, she kicked the knife out of John’s hand, then managed to gain it herself and stab him Thirteen cases, including as soon as by way of the survey.
“I correct began stabbing him. I began to push him off of me and then I bought him correct right here [shoulder] and I also bought the closing one in his survey and the closing one I fabricate of did give a 2nd belief. I became as soon as look after ‘I build now not desire him to build up support up, I build now not desire him to establish out to harm me again. If he will get support up he’s gonna crash me,” Terra told Fox5.
After a neighbor wrapped Terra’s spoil in a beach towel, Terra known as Debra and broke the data: “I’m in actuality, in actuality sorry. I mediate I killed your husband.” But John wasn’t but boring. Paramedics administered CPR and his pulse returned.
August 24, 2016
John Meehan dies.
John Meehan died within the hospital at fifty seven, four days after his fight with Terra. After he became as soon as declared brain boring, his sister Karen made the resolution to expend him off existence toughen. His physique became as soon as cremated and no memorial provider became as soon as held.
Debra told Fox5 that her nightmarish journey with John impressed her to establish out and support victims of domestic abuse. “There are ladies folks which can perchance maybe be almost definitely afraid to loss of life to head away,” she talked about. “[They] build now not perceive every other process of getting out of the connection and I are making an strive to dangle a direct for them.”