criminals The Tale Of Dirty John Is The Perfect Story Of Revenge  

Jessika Gilbert
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We all know the stories of professional scam artists who dream up elaborate schemes and rip off unsuspecting victims. Luckily, we often hear about said criminals because they were caught in the act. It's not as common to hear about people who got revenge on a con artist, but it happens from time to time. Dirty John is one of those con men who did happen to fall into karma at the hands of a woman who learned self-defense tactics from watching, of all things. The Walking Dead.

John Meehan was a con man of the most diabolical sort who married women to steal their money and ruin their lives. But his is a sweet story of revenge, in which the criminal -- for better or for worse -- got what was coming to him. Continue reading to learn the horrible facts "Dirty John" Meehan, a scam artist who got scammed right back in what turned out to be a traumatic but somewhat satisfying ending for the females he was haunting.

Newell's Daughter Used Zombie-Fighting Tactics She Learned From Watching The Walking Dead To Kill Dirty John


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Debra Newell's daughter, 25-year-old Terra Newell, was reportedly as non-confrontational as a person can be and everyone described her a sweet girl. She enjoyed listening to music, and she was a huge fan of the TV show The Walking Dead. In fact, Terra wasn't just a fan of the show, she was a bit obsessed with it, and studied the show as a college course, taking note of the survival tactics characters used to escape zombies. Terra was not a fan of her mother's new husband Meehan from the very first meeting she had with him. She believed that Meehan was hiding something, and she was scared for her mother. 

On August 20, 2016, Terra Newell went to work at the Newport Beach dog kennel and then headed home. She parked in her usual spot in the parking lot and then began the short walk to her home at which point her mother's husband John Meehan appeared, grabbed her, and put a hand over her mouth. The two started wrestling one another, and although Meehan was armed with a knife, Newell was able to kick it from his grip, then grab the knife herself. Once the blade was in her possession, she began stabbing Meehan repeatedly. She managed to stab him 13 times.

When police arrived on the scene and administered CPR, they got Meehan breathing again, but he was unconscious. Four days after the attack, Meehan was on life support when a nurse asked Debra Newell whether she thought it'd be best to pull the plug on Meehan. Newell, emotionally unable to make the decision, asked the nurse to use her best judgment. Meehan was pronounced dead on August 24, 2016. He was 54. 

Later, Terra Newell gave credit to The Walking Dead for making her able to go into survival mode during the attack. She was never charged with a crime, as Meehan's death was ruled as self-defense. 

Dirty John Was A Con Man Who Completely Fabricated His Life Stories In Multiple States


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Photo:  Michigan Department of Corrections

John's marriage to Terra's mom Debra wasn't his first. John married Tonia Sells in 1990 when she was in her twenties and he was 31, then fabricated an entire false life story about himself in order to win her over.  She didn't even know his name was John, she thought it was Jonathan, and she thought he was 26. None of his family attended the wedding. Tonia supported him through nursing school, didn't hear about his nickname "Dirty John" until their wedding day, and they had two children together. Ten years later, he asked Tonia for a divorce. Then he threatened her life menacingly and harassed her until she took him to court. They gave him a suspended sentence.

Donna Meehan Stewart, John's sister, has since revealed that Meehan has always been a con man and that it was ingrained in him from an early age how to rip people off and get what he wanted. His father taught him how to pull off insurance scams, and that when someone did him wrong, you get back at them by going after their family. Although Meehan was taught by his dad how to hustle people, by the time he was an adult, he was a crook on a whole new level. 

John Met His Second Wife On A Dating App, And They Moved In Together After Knowing Each Other For Five Weeks


59 year-old Debra Newell had been married and divorced four times by the time she met  55-year-old John Meehan on a 50+ dating site in October 2014. Meehan described himself on his dating profile as a divorced doctor. Debra Newell herself was a powerful business woman from Orange County.

Once Meehan and Newell began talking to one another, Newell found him to be a breath of fresh air. He wanted to know all about her, and the business that she ran. While Meehan frequently spoke about being an anesthesiologist in Iraq and told her details about himself, such as being a regular churchgoer and that he owned several properties in Newport Beach as well as Palm Springs, he was more interested in discussing Newell's life, and the business she owned, Ambrosia Interior Design. 

After knowing each other for five weeks, Debra and John moved in together in a $6,500-per-month house in Newport Beach. Debra paid a full year's rent in advance, because John didn't want his name on the lease, explaining tax issues. 

After Meeting Debra Newell, Meehan Convinced her To Marry Him After Knowing One Another For Less Than Two Months


Despite her children's trepidations, Meehan and Newell secretly eloped while vacationing in Las Vegas. The pair had only known one another for two months. Shortly after the wedding, Meehan and Newell arrived at their rented house to discover a woman in their home. She was wearing Newell's clothes and sat on the couch with a drink. Meehan immediately restrained the woman and instructed Newell to leave home and call the police. Newell did as told but wondered if Meehan knew the woman, despite insisting he did not. Meehan then asked Newell to purchase security cameras for both their home and her office which he could monitor on his cell phone. Newell did as instructed and cameras were secured at their home and office. While Newell believed that Meehan intended on keeping an eye on her with the added security, they proved to be beneficial to her as well. One day, she watched camera footage and discovered after Meehan told her he was going to work, he left the house and returned moments later and got into bed and went to sleep. Once confronted, Meehan casually dismissed Newell explaining his patient had canceled surgery. It was at that point Newell began to wonder whether Meehan was really a doctor. He didn't bring home paychecks, but he explained to her that he was paid in cash.