Bravo’s show Dirty John showcases the true and chilling story of Debra Newell and John Meehan, along with their families. One of the saddest aspects of the story is that Debra’s sister, Cindi Vickers, was killed by her husband, Billy. On the show, before viewers find out the backstory, Debra makes it clear that she wants nothing to do with her brother-in-law. The reason for this is he caused her sister’s death.
The LA Times reported that Cindi met Billy when she was a teenager and he was a supermarket manager. After the couple got married, Cosmopolitan reported that Billy allegedly became controlling and possessive, so Cindi wanted a divorce.
Billy ended up borrowing a friend’s gun and shooting Cindi in the head on March 8, 1984. According to Oxygen, Billy came up behind Cindi in their kitchen, put a pistol up to the back of her neck, and fired. He then turned the gun on himself, shooting himself in the stomach and calling 911. He survived and was charged with first-degree murder. Billy was acquitted of murder and pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, serving only about three years in prison.
Debra and Cindi’s mother, Arlane, actually forgave Billy and, according to Cosmopolitan, Arlane revealed, “[Billy] said, ‘How could you love me? How could you?’ And I said, ‘God has given that love to us for you. We love you, and we forgive you.’ And he just sobbed and he cried.”