But gripping and scary you found Bravo's thriller series Dirty John it is nothing compared to the real life story that inspired the show. When Debra Newell met John Meehan for dinner at a candlelit California restaurant in October 2014 after a series of uninspiring first dates, something different felt. He was beautiful, charismatic, accomplished and really interested in her. After four failed marriages, she might have felt that she had found "the real thing".
But in the following weeks and months, Meehan revealed herself to be the opposite: a pathological liar with an ugly temper, a criminal past, and a long history of luring, manipulating and abusing women. In a six-part story for Los Angeles Times and the accompanying podcast Dirty John chronicle journalist Christopher Goffard how Debras dream guy became a wary nightmare for her and her family.
] If you haven't read Goffard's articles or heard podcast yet, correct it immediately. Seriously. Do it now. With this disclaimer in mind here is a chronological timeline that summarizes the most important events in the horrible true saga behind Dirty John .
8 thereof. March 1
Cindi Newell is murdered by her husband in 13 years.
Twenty Years Before the Events Dirty John Debra Newell's sister Cindi was shot and killed by her husband, Billy Vickers. The couple were separating, and the murder took place in the kitchen of the home they had just sold in Laguna Niguel, California. Billy shot Cindi at the back of his head tightly and shot himself in the stomach and called emergency services.
During the trial, Cindy's mother witnessed Arlane Hart in Billy's defense and explained that she loved him and did not believe he had been in his right mind when he shot and killed his daughter. Per LA Times, Prosecutor Thomas Avdeef was stunned by Arlane's testimony which he interpreted as painting Cindi in a negative light. "They threw her under the bus," said Avdeef, referring to Arlane and other family members who testified. "I don't know the dynamics of the family. I could never understand. Why do bad things say about the victim?"
The jury acquitted Billy of Murder, but killed the minor accusation of voluntary rape that Billy ultimately allegedly guilty of in exchange for a five-year penalty. He was released in 1986 after being less than three years in prison.
Cindi & # 39; s death, as you expected, had a big impact on her younger sister Debra. "That was why Debra hated firearms," writes Goffard. "That was why she refused to have one around long after people began to warn her that she needed one."
John Meehan marries his first wife.
John married nurse Tonia sells at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dayton, Ohio. At that time, she was 25, and he was 31, even though he told her he was 26. None of John's family attended the wedding, he explained that his parents were abusers, and he didn't want to ruin the wedding. The couple had two daughters, and Tonia helped put John through nursing.
Tonia discovers the truth about John.
John told Tonia he wanted a divorce. Tonia tracked down John's mother Dolores, although he had always forbidden Tonia from contacting her. Dolores revealed that John lied about his birthday and his full birth name and that he had a drug record against him in California.
After searching in Ohio home, they cut Ed, Tonia found John's hidden supply of surgical anesthetics, which she knew he had no reason to possess outside the hospital. She informed the police who began a study of John in September 2000.
Another study by John begins.
Dennis Luken, an investigator for Warren County Sheriff's Office in Ohio, began looking at John after hospital workers reported having him get a gun into the operating room and stealing Demerol, should he have administered to a patient. Per LA Times The hatch later called John "the most incredible, dangerous, deceptive person I've ever met."
John removed his license to work as a nurse anesthetist
Police searched his house and found a loaded gun and 45 empty containers for six different prescription drugs per day. Dayton Daily News .
John is trying to evade arrest. for prison.
John used to be guilty of crime with theft, but instead of surrendering to the authorities, he fled the state and checked into a hotel in Michigan, where police found him unconsciously and surrounded by drug vials. How Goffard describes what happened next time:
The ambulance shook him to the hospital when he lifted his limitations, grabbed the fabric and jumped into the road. He fled into a nearby J.C. Penney, scrambled on a cargo lift and into the shaft, kicking a policeman on the face. They immediately handcuffed him when he tumbled to the ground, was covered in fat and knocked himself unconscious.
John was sentenced to up to six years in prison in Michigan to resist arrest and possession of drugs. He earned 17 months and was released in 2004.
John begins his rebellion of terror against other women.
John used to stalking a Laguna Beach woman he met in the hospital when she was recovering from brain surgery. He introduced himself as his anesthetist, and they dated for a period of time until she became uncomfortable with her suggestion that she would transfer money to her bank account "to hide it from her stranger". When she completed their relationship, he sent her threatening messages
John meets Debra Newell.
John was released from prison on October 8 after earning time to violate a detention order. Two days later, he met interior designer Debra Newell on a dating site over 50 years.
John and Debra went to a restaurant in Irvine, California, for their first date. He told her he had served as an anesthetist in Iraq and spent a year with doctors without borders. "He tended to have everything on my checklist I was looking for," Debra told Fox5. "I liked that he was a doctor that he had been successful in helping people, and when he said he had been to Iraq, doctors Without Borders, It also impressed me."
Their Relationships Went Fast and Debra was "swept off his feet because he knew what to say. Everything was so calculated." She was willing to overlook some quirky quirks. John carried his medical scrubs everywhere, even for formal events, claiming to have no money because his income went to his children – but her daughters were immediately suspicious.
"I told my mother that she could better get this crawl out of the house, or I have no plans to live with her," said Debra's older daughter Jacquelyn at Dirty John podcast. Debras younger daughter Terra was also uncomfortable with John, but was initially less vocal.
Tensions rise with Newells as Debra and John move together.
Debra and John moved into a house together on Balboa Island in Newport Beach. The house was alone in Debras name because John did not want his name on the lease. The tension between John and Debras daughters came to mind the day before Thanksgiving when Terra discovered the couple lived together and confronted her mother. Goffard describes this incident:
Here came John, who was immediately transformed by anger. Why was Terra snooping through his stuff? Why did she try to steal Debra from him? Has she realized that children should be smuggled for this?
Terra yelled at her mother: "How could you let this guy talk to me like this?"
Terra left, badly shaken, with the morbid feeling that her mother chose John over her.
John and Debra are getting married.
Trora and John married in Las Vegas after less than two months of dates while Debra was there on a business trip. The ceremony took place at a courthouse and no guests were invited.
Debra discovers the truth about John.
Debra's nephew shad-cindi's son called her to raise concerns over John and reveal that he had been serving in prison and had lied about being an anesthetist.
Although Debra acted with care over Shad, she began privately through John's documents and found evidence of his long history of seductive, mocking and harassing women. Per Goffard:
From 2005 to 2014 – from about when he came out of the jail in Michigan for the drug theft to the time he met Debra Newell in California – he had seduced, swollen and terrorized more women, many of whom had met Dating sites while appearing as a doctor showed courts.
When they married in December 2014, three separate women around Southern California had standing arrest orders against him; in recent years, at least three others had requested them.
Debra found homepages from websites where women shared information about dangerous men with many warnings about John: "Don't let this man in your life" a comment said while another called him a constructor and a "classical psychopath ". She also discovered that he had a nickname that goes back to his short time at Law School: Dirty John.
"He was basically this weird, lone-wolf guy who did all sorts of scandalous things and it was not just with women," a former classmate of John's, Kevin Horan, told LA Times . "" The guy you can't trust him for nothing. He's the mess top to bottom. "
Disrupted, Debra moved out of the Balboa Island house and took advantage of John's absence while in the hospital for back surgery.
] Debra and John reconciled.
After months of messages and phone calls where Jo Hn asked Debra to take him back and told her he needed her, the couple came back together. He had an explanation for everything Debra explained to Dirty John podcast. "He had always a story. He told me he had lied because he thought he would lose me, that he was fortunate enough to be such a forgiving person, I am the love of this life that I made him a better person. "Debra and John moved into a new apartment in Irvine.  March 2016
Debra cuts John out of his life.
After a year and three months of marriage, Debra still suspects and is becoming increasingly uncomfortable with John's behavior and her alienation from her own family The tension between Jacquelyn and John had deteriorated as Goffard writes:
He didn't even want her to see her children, especially Jacquelyn, who had been so vocal in her contempt for him One day he caught Debra to see her and said he would throw Jacquelyn into the sea if it happened again.
Debra reached his break in March and filed to cancel the marriage in April. Nevada, began sending her threatening messages, demanded money and promised to destroy her, requesting a detention order, but an Orange County judge refused the request, there was no imminent threat they ruled because John lived in a duck a state and never physically hurt her. She knocked John off and stopped taking his calls and messages.
June 11, 2016
John steals Debras car in an attempt to destroy it.
Debra's Jaguar disappeared from his parking lot in front of the Irvine office, and surveillance recordings showed that John stole it. The car was later found a block away, soaked in gasoline and with mild fire damage – John had tried and failed to put it up completely.
20th August 2016
John attacks Terra outside her apartment complex.
Jacquelyn called Terra to warn her that John was in town; The previous night she had seen him waiting outside her (Jacquelyn's) apartment complex in Irvine. In the evening, Terra came home from work and parked her car in the lot outside her Newport Beach apartment complex. When she got out of the car, she approached from behind and attacked her with a knife.
"He tried to push me into the car," Terra told Dateline . "I tried to get away from him, I screamed, and he put his hand over my mouth and I was as hard as I could."
"There was no resemblance to a fair fight," said Goffard: John was 6 & 2; and although he had lost considerable weight in recent weeks, he was still much larger than Terra. and John fought on the ground, Terra could partially defend himself thanks to the heavy rain boots she wore, which had a thick tread. During the fight she kicked the knife out of John's hand, so managed to grab himself and stab him 13 times, including once through the eye.
"I just started to stab him. I started pushing him off and then I got him right here [shoulder] and I also got the last one in the eye, and the last one I kind of gave another thought. I was like & # 39; I don't want him to come up again, I don't want him trying to hurt me again. If he comes up, he will kill me, "Terra told Fox5.
After a neighbor wrapped Terra's wound in a bath towel, Terra called Debra and broke the news:" I'm really sorry. I think I killed your husband. "But John was not dead yet. Paramedics administered CPR and his heart rate was returned. After being declared brain dead, his sister Karen made the decision to support him, his body was cremated, and no memorial service was held.
Debra told Fox5 that her nightmarish experience with John inspired her to try "There are women who are probably afraid of death to leave," she said. "[They] can't see any other way to get out of the relationship and I want a voice for them." 19659077]