Who was John Meehan?
John Meehan was a nurse anesthetist and conman, whose life story was adapted into a podcast and later into a television series. John was known for pulling off bogus lawsuits and insurance scams. He was also famous for his multiple relationships with women, who were also his victims. Described as dangerous and deceptive by many, John Meehan had a number of criminal records stacked up against him. Subsequently, his license to work as a nurse anesthetist was cancelled, which prompted him to focus solely on deceiving people. John Meehan, who terrorized and harassed many women, was eventually killed by his stepdaughter, Terra Newell. The incident took place at the parking lot of Terra’s apartment complex, where she stabbed him 13 times to defend herself. John Meehan died four days later in a hospital at the age of 57.
Childhood & Early Life
John Meehan was born on February 3, 1959, in the United States of America. He was raised along with his sisters Karen and Donna Meehan. His father, William Meehan, who operated the ‘Diamond Wheel Casino’ in San Jose, taught John how to lie and deceive. At a young age, John would win legal settlements by jumping in front of moving cars and by mixing pieces of glass into food bought at local restaurants. He also sold cocaine during his teenage years, for which he was once arrested. John went to ‘Prospect High School’ in Saratoga, California. In 1988, he graduated from ‘The University of Arizona’ with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then attended ‘The University of Dayton School of Law.’ While attending ‘The University of Dayton,’ he was given the nickname ‘Dirty John’ for his ability to lure women.
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John Meehan started a relationship with a practicing nurse anesthetist named Tonia Sells. It was Tonia who helped him graduate from ‘Wright State University’ and then from the ‘Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia.’ John and Tonia entered wedlock in November 1990. The wedding took place at ‘St. Joseph Catholic Church’ in Dayton. Not surprisingly, John had lied about his age and had even concealed his real name. Nevertheless, he came across as a pleasant husband, with whom Tonia had two daughters. John became a nurse anesthetist with the help of his wife. 10 years into their marriage, he wanted to divorce Tonia, which prompted her to call John’s mother, Dolores. Through the call, Tonia came to know about John’s real identity. In September 2000, Tonia found a box containing powerful anesthetics, which he had been using as recreational drugs. In 2002, he was charged with drug theft and was later sentenced to 17 months in prison.
In 2014, John Meehan met a wealthy interior designer named Debra Newell through a dating site. He lied to her about his profession, among many other things. John did not take long to convince Debra into marrying him. Debra’s children from her previous marriage were not excited about the wedding as they were not convinced by John’s lies. They eventually hired a private investigator to know more about their stepfather, which uncovered John’s long line of secrets. These revelations were later adapted into a podcast named ‘Dirty John,’ which was then made into a TV series. When Debra wanted to end her marriage with John, he did not take it well. He reacted by harassing and threatening her, something which he had done with many women in the past.
On August 20, 2016, John attacked Debra’s daughter from her previous marriage, Terra, with a knife. Terra, who managed to grab the knife, stabbed him 13 times. When the police arrived, they discovered a duct tape, injectable testosterone, cable ties, kitchen knives, and a passport in John’s backpack. Based on their findings, the police concluded that John had planned to kidnap Terra. The emergency personnel was able to revive John’s pulse, after which he was taken to a nearby hospital. John never recovered from the stab wounds as he passed away on August 24, 2016.