A Complete Timeline of the Events of Dirty John
Nonetheless gripping and terrifying you discovered Bravo’s thriller sequence Dirty John, it is nothing in comparison with the real-life story that impressed the present. When Debra Newell met John Meehan for dinner at a candlelit California restaurant in October 2014 following a string of uninspiring first dates, one thing felt completely different. He was good-looking, charismatic, achieved, and appeared genuinely enthusiastic about her. After 4 failed marriages, she felt perhaps she had discovered “the true factor.”
However over the next weeks and months, Meehan slowly revealed himself to be the very reverse: A pathological liar with an unpleasant mood, a legal previous, and an extended historical past of conning, manipulating, and abusing ladies. In a six-part story for The Los Angeles Events and the accompanying podcast Dirty John, reporter Christopher Goffard chronicles how Debra’s dream man grew to become a waking nightmare for her and her household.
If you have not learn Goffard’s articles or heard the podcast but, rectify that instantly. Severely. Do it now. With that disclaimer in thoughts, right here’s a chronological timeline summarizing the important thing Events within the horrifying true saga behind Dirty John.
March 8, 1984
CINDI NEWELL IS MURDERED BY HER HUSBAND OF 13 YEARS.
Twenty years earlier than the Events of Dirty John, Debra Newell’s sister Cindi was shot and killed by her husband, Billy Vickers. The couple was within the technique of separating, and the homicide happened within the kitchen of the house that they had simply bought in Laguna Niguel, California. Billy shot Cindi behind the top at shut vary, then shot himself within the abdomen and referred to as emergency services.
At trial, Cindi’s mom Arlane Hart testified in Billy’s protection, explaining that she liked him and didn’t consider he had been in his proper thoughts when he shot and killed her daughter. Per The LA Events, prosecutor Thomas Avdeef was shocked by Arlane’s testimony, which he interpreted as portray Cindi in a unfavorable mild. “They threw her below the bus,” Avdeef mentioned, referring to Arlane and different members of the family who gave testimony. “I don’t know the dynamics of the household. I might by no means perceive that. Why say dangerous issues concerning the sufferer?”
The jury acquitted Billy of homicide, however deadlocked on the lesser cost of voluntary manslaughter, which Billy in the end pleaded responsible to in trade for a five-year sentence. He was released in 1986 after serving lower than three years in jail.
Cindi’s dying, as you’d count on, had a profound influence on her youthful sister Debra. “It was the rationale Debra hated firearms,” Goffard writes. “It was the rationale she refused to have one round, lengthy after individuals started warning her that she wanted one.”
JOHN MEEHAN MARRIES HIS FIRST WIFE.
John married nurse Tonia Sells at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dayton, Ohio. On the time, she was 25 and he was 31, although he told her that he was 26. None of John’s household attended the marriage; he defined that his dad and mom have been addicts and he didn’t need them to spoil the marriage. The couple had two daughters, and Tonia helped put John via nursing faculty.
TONIA DISCOVERS THE TRUTH ABOUT JOHN.
After ten years of marriage, John told Tonia he wished a divorce. Tonia tracked down John’s mom, Dolores, although he had at all times forbidden Tonia from contacting her. Dolores revealed that John lied about his birthday and his Complete start title, and that he had a drug cost in opposition to him in California.
After looking out the Ohio house they shared, Tonia discovered John’s hidden provide of surgical anesthetic medicine, which she knew he had no purpose to own outdoors the hospital. She knowledgeable the police, who started an investigation of John in September 2000.
ANOTHER INVESTIGATION INTO JOHN BEGINS.
Dennis Luken, an investigator for the Warren County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio, started wanting into John after hospital staff reported seeing him bring a gun into the working room and steal Demerol he ought to have been administering to a affected person. Per The LA Events, Luken later referred to as John “essentially the most devious, harmful, misleading individual I ever met.”
JOHN IS STRIPPED OF HIS LICENSE TO WORK AS A NURSE ANESTHETIST.
Police searched his home and located a loaded gun and 45 empty containers for six completely different prescription drugs, per The Dayton Day by day Information.
AFTER ATTEMPTING TO EVADE ARREST, JOHN GOES TO PRISON.
John pleaded responsible to felony drug theft, however slightly than surrendering to authorities, he fled the state and checked right into a resort in Michigan, the place police discovered him unconscious and surrounded by drug vials. Right here’s how Goffard describes what got here subsequent:
The ambulance was dashing him to the hospital when he unbuckled his restraints, grabbed the drug package and jumped into the highway. He fled into a close-by J.C. Penney, scrambled atop a cargo elevator and into the shaft, and kicked a cop within the face. They lastly handcuffed him when he tumbled to the bottom, coated in grease, and knocked himself unconscious.
John was sentenced to as much as six years in jail in Michigan for resisting arrest and possession of medication. He served 17 months and was released in 2004.
JOHN BEGINS HIS REIN OF TERROR AGAINST OTHER WOMEN.
John pleaded responsible to stalking a Laguna Seaside lady, whom he met within the hospital when she was recovering from mind surgical procedure. He released himself as her anesthesiologist, they usually dated for a interval, till she grew to become uncomfortable together with his recommendations that she switch cash into his checking account “to cover it from her estranged husband.” When she ended their relationship, he despatched her threatening messages and intimate photographs of her to her household.
JOHN MEETS DEBRA NEWELL.
John was released from jail on October Eight after serving time for violating a restraining order. Two days later, he met inside designer Debra Newell on an over-50s relationship web site.
John and Debra went to a restaurant in Irvine, California, for his or her first date. He told her he’d served as an anesthesiologist in Iraq and spent a 12 months with Docs With out Borders. “He tended to have every part on my guidelines that I used to be searching for,” Debra told Fox5. “I preferred that he was a physician, that he had been profitable serving to individuals, after which when he mentioned he had been to Iraq, Docs With out Borders, that impressed me additionally.”
Their relationship developed rapidly, and Debra was “swept off her toes as a result of he knew what to say. Every thing was so calculated.” She was keen to miss some unusual quirks—John wore his medical scrubs in every single place, even to formal Events, and claimed to don’t have any cash as a result of all of his earnings went to his kids—however her daughters have been immediately suspicious.
“I told my mother she’d higher get this creep out of the home or I don’t plan on residing along with her,” Debra’s older daughter Jacquelyn mentioned on the Dirty John podcast. Debra’s youthful daughter Terra was additionally uncomfortable with John, however initially was much less vocal.
TENSIONS RISE WITH THE NEWELLS AS DEBRA AND JOHN MOVE IN TOGETHER.
Debra and John moved right into a home collectively on Balboa Island in Newport Seaside. The home was in Debra’s title alone as a result of John didn’t need his title on the lease. The strain between John and Debra’s daughters got here to a head the day earlier than Thanksgiving, when Terra found the couple have been residing collectively and confronted her mother. Goffard describes this incident:
Right here got here John, immediately reworked by rage. Why was Terra snooping via his stuff? Why was she making an attempt to steal Debra from him? Did she notice that youngsters needs to be smacked for this?
Terra screamed at her mom: “How might you let this man discuss to me like this?!”
Terra left, badly shaken, with the sickening feeling that her mom was selecting John over her.
JOHN AND DEBRA MARRY.
Regardless of the continuing household stress, Debra and John married in Las Vegas after lower than two months of relationship, whereas Debra was there on a enterprise journey. The ceremony happened at a courthouse, and no friends have been invited.
DEBRA DISCOVERS THE TRUTH ABOUT JOHN.
Debra’s nephew Shad—Cindi’s son—referred to as her to boost considerations about John, revealing that he had served time in jail and had lied about being an anesthesiologist.
Although Debra acted unconcerned to Shad, she privately started wanting via John’s paperwork, and located proof of his lengthy historical past of seducing, conning and harassing ladies. Per Goffard:
From 2005 to 2014 — from concerning the time he received out of jail in Michigan for drug theft to the time he met Debra Newell in California—he had seduced, swindled and terrorized a number of ladies, lots of whom he had met on relationship websites whereas posing as a physician, courtroom records confirmed.
By the point they married in December 2014, three separate ladies round Southern California had standing restraining orders in opposition to him; in recent times, not less than three others had requested them.
Debra discovered printouts from web sites on which ladies shared details about harmful males, with scores of warnings about John: “Don’t let this man into your life,” one remark mentioned, whereas one other referred to as him a con artist and a “traditional psychopath.” She additionally found that he had a nickname, relationship again to his transient time at legislation faculty: Dirty John.
“He was mainly this unusual, lone-wolf man that did every kind of scandalous-type issues, and it wasn’t simply with ladies,” a former classmate of John’s, Kevin Horan, told The LA Events. “‘That man, you’ll be able to’t belief him for nothing. He’s rotten high to backside.”
Disturbed, Debra moved out of the Balboa Island home, benefiting from John’s absence whereas he was in hospital for again surgical procedure.
DEBRA AND JOHN RECONCILE.
After months of messages and cellphone calls during which John begged Debra to take him again and told her he wanted her, the couple received again collectively. He had a proof for every part, Debra defined on the Dirty John podcast. “He at all times had a narrative. He told me that he had lied as a result of he thought he’d lose me, that he feels so fortunate that I’m such a forgiving individual, I’m the love of this life, that I’ve made him a greater individual.” Debra and John moved into a brand new house in Irvine.
DEBRA CUTS JOHN OUT OF HER LIFE.
After a 12 months and three months of marriage, Debra’s nonetheless has suspicions, and is more and more uncomfortable with John’s habits and her estrangement from her family. The strain between Jacquelyn and John had worsened, as Goffard writes:
He didn’t even need her seeing her youngsters, notably Jacquelyn, who had been so vocal in her contempt for him. Someday he caught Debra sneaking away to see her and mentioned he’d throw Jacquelyn within the ocean if it occurred once more.
Debra reached her breaking level in March, and filed to annul the wedding in April. John, now residing in Nevada, started sending her threatening messages, demanding cash and promising to spoil her. She requested a restraining order, however an Orange County decide denied the request. There was no imminent risk, they dominated, as a result of John lived in one other state and had by no means bodily harmed her. She minimize John off and stopped taking his calls and messages.
June 11, 2016
JOHN STEALS DEBRA’S CAR IN AN ATTEMPT TO DESTROY IT.
Debra’s Jaguar disappeared from its parking spot in entrance of her Office in Irvine, and surveillance footage confirmed John stealing it. The automobile was later discovered a block away, soaked in gasoline and with gentle hearth harm—John had tried and did not set it Completey alight.
August 20, 2016
JOHN ATTACKS TERRA OUTSIDE HER APARTMENT BUILDING.
Jacquelyn referred to as Terra to warn her that John was on the town; the earlier night she’d seen him ready outdoors her (Jacquelyn’s) house constructing in Irvine. That night, Terra returned house from work and parked her automobile within the lot outdoors her Newport Seaside house constructing. As she received out of the automobile, John approached her from behind and attacked her with a knife.
“He was making an attempt to push me into the automobile,” Terra told Dateline. “I attempted to get away from him, I used to be screaming, and he put his hand over my mouth and I bit as laborious as I might.”
“It bore no resemblance to a good combat,” Goffard famous: John was 6’2”, and although he had misplaced important weight over current weeks, he was nonetheless a lot bigger than Terra. However as she and John wrestled on the bottom, Terra was in a position to defend herself partially because of the heavy rain boots she was sporting, which had a thick tread. Through the combat, she kicked the knife out of John’s hand, then managed to seize it herself and stab him 13 Events, together with as soon as via the attention.
“I simply began stabbing him. I began to push him off of me after which I received him proper right here [shoulder] and I additionally received the final one in his eye and the final one I form of did give a second thought. I used to be like ‘I do not need him to get again up, I do not need him to attempt to damage me once more. If he will get again up he is gonna kill me,” Terra told Fox5.
After a neighbor wrapped Terra’s wound in a seashore towel, Terra referred to as Debra and broke the information: “I’m actually, actually sorry. I feel I killed your husband.” However John wasn’t but lifeless. Paramedics administered CPR and his pulse returned.
August 24, 2016
JOHN MEEHAN DIES.
John Meehan died within the hospital at 57, 4 days after his combat with Terra. After he was declared mind lifeless, his sister Karen made the choice to take him off life assist. His physique was cremated and no memorial service was held.
Debra told Fox5 that her nightmarish expertise with John impressed her to attempt to assist victims of home abuse. “There are ladies which might be most likely scared to dying to depart,” she mentioned. “[They] do not see another means of getting out of the connection and I wish to have a voice for them.”