‘Dirty John’ Meehan’s Real Life & True Story of His Crimes

Dirty John Meehan Real Life

Official Mugshot, The LA Times John Meehan's Mugshot

When Debra Newell met a man named John Meehan, she probably didn’t realize that her life would change forever. And now, both of their real lives have become the story of Bravo’s series Dirty John. But, before we get into the details about the show, as well as the real John Meehan, keep in mind that MAJOR SPOILERS on the series will be revealed. So, if you do NOT want to know how Dirty John ends, STOP READING NOW.

Now let’s get into the life of John Meehan, as well as the show.

John Meehan’s Crimes

When John Meehan met Debra Newell, he reportedly had only been out of jail for a few days. Newell’s daughters hired a private investigator when they had doubts about Meehan’s intentions. They found out he lied about going to medical school and that he was a felon. People reported that Meehan had been to jail in Michigan, as well as California, for stealing drugs from hospitals, where he had been working. He also scammed other women who he’d met online. According to People, at one point, Meehan had been arrested for cocaine trafficking.

Oxygen reported that Meehan had a habit of meeting women on sites like Plenty of Fish and Match.com. After meeting women, he would terrorize, swindle and stalk them.

As for some of the other reasons that Meehan went to jail, here is a list of some of his offenses:

Right after his divorce to his first wife, Meehan pleaded guilty to drug theft in 2002, and he spent 17 months in a Michigan prison, according to the LA Times.

The Dayton Daily News reported that Meehan was once arrested for kicking a state trooper when he was hiding above an elevator inside of a shopping mall.

According to the LA Times, Meehan pleaded guilty in 2014 to stalking a woman and being a felon in possession of a firearm. After a few months, he was out of jail but was sent back for violating a restraining order against him from another woman.

John Meehan’s Family

Tonia Bales is the first wife of John Meehan and, according to People, Meehan’s actual nickname from his friends was “Filthy John”. Meehan did not invite his family to their wedding.

When the two met, Sells was a nurse and Meehan was in law school, but he then decided to change his career to medicine as well. Meehan cheated on Sells and when they were getting divorced, he had gotten another woman pregnant. Sells and Meehan had already had two daughters together.

At one point, Sells found Meehan’s mother’s phone number and decided to call her. Sells introduced herself and told People that, “She said, ‘Oh Tonia, I knew you would call me one day.’ That just led to the whole conversation that he’s changed his age, he altered his name, he’s been arrested before, he’s been lying and cheating and messing around with other women his whole life.”

Meehan’s daughters and ex-wife were pictured with actor Eric Bana, who plays Meehan in Dirty John. They appear to be very supportive of the series.

Who Dies at the End of “Dirty John”

Debra Newell met John Meehan in 2014 online and she was smitten with him, but her four children had their doubts. When Newell finally realized the man she had married, she reportedly went into hiding. This resulted in major actions from Meehan. He reportedly filed for divorce, demanded half of Newell’s earnings, he wanted her business, he emailed naked pictures of her to her family and even set her car on fire, according to People. But, this wasn’t the worst of it.

On August 20, 2016, Meehan was waiting outside the apartment of Newell’s daughter, Terra, and attacked her. Romper reported that Meehan had been waiting in the parking lot for Terra to get home from work. When she arrived with her dog, Cash, Meehan attacked her with a knife, but she fought back and won, stabbing him in the chest, head and his eye. She reportedly stabbed Meehan thirteen times, with his eye being the final cut. Meehan died four days later after the stabbing, at the age of 57.

Terra Newell was deemed as acting in self-defense.


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