Long before authorities say he attacked his estranged wife in California, “Dirty John” Meehan carried a gun into the operating room of a local hospital and hid in a Michigan elevator shaft. Dayton Daily News reporter Larry Budd talks about the local connections.

The subject of the LA Times’ chilling true-crime podcast got his start in Dayton 

The man at the center of a popular crime podcast and new TV mini-series studied at two Dayton-area universities and saw his license to work as a nurse anesthetist suspended after an investigation here. 

Now he is the focus of a new eight-part TV series.

“Dirty John,” a limited Bravo TV series, is set to debut at 10 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25.

>> Former ‘Dirty’ Wright State, UD student subject of new 8-part TV series

It is based on the Los Angeles Times’ articles and the newspaper’s hit true crime podcast series “Dirty John” about John Meehan and his wife, Debra Newell. 

Connie Britton plays Newell and Eric Bana plays Meehan, “a charismatic con-man,” in the hour-long episodes created by Alexandra Cunningham and directed by Jeffrey Reiner.

>> PHOTOS: Bravo takes on story of former local man who became “Dirty John”

John Meehan, the subject of the “Los Angeles Times” acclaimed series “Dirty John,” got his nickname during his short time in University of Dayton’s law school in 1988.

From the Times’ story: 

“Dirty John, classmates called him. Sometimes it was Filthy John Meehan, or just Filthy. But mostly Dirty John.”

Meehan was killed by a woman he attacked with a knife on the roof of an apartment complex parking lot in Newport Beach on Aug. 24 2016, according to the another Times article. 

>> MORE HISTORIC CRIMES: 5 of Dayton's most shocking murders

Debra Newell and John Meehan attend a formal event in Orange County, Calif. John arrives in his faded blue medical scrubs to the formal-dress cancer benefit. (TNS)
Photo: Handout/TNS

The Times series explores Meehan’s life and marriage to Debra Newell, as well as his life of crime.

What Meehan did in Dayton plays a critical part in the story. He married Tonia Sells, a nurse, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dayton in 1990. The third episode of the podcast, “Filthy,” deals with Meehan's law school days, his marriage to Sells and an police officer who investigated him here.

>> MORE HISTORIC CRIMES: How this former cop committed one of Dayton's most notorious crimes of passion — and you decide his fate

She helped put him through nursing school at Wright State University, and then the Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia.

He lost his licence to work as a nurse anesthetist after police searched his Hamilton home and found a loaded 9 mm Ruger in his closet and 45 empty containers for six different medications from a Kentucky hospital in his attic, according to a April 1, 2002 article by Dayton Daily News reporter Larry Budd.

Before his arrest, Meehan not only used the hospital medications himself, developing an addiction, authorities said. 

He also gave medications and information about their use to his brother who died in California in September 2000 from an overdose of his own prescription medications, according to records. 

>> MORE HISTORICAL CRIMES: Honeymoon mayhem: Dayton's very own Bonnie and Clyde

John Meehan, right, then a nurse anesthetist accused of stealing drugs from hospitals in four states, appeared with his attorney before Judge Patricia Oney in 2002. Staff photo: Greg Lynch, Journal-News

More from Budd’s article:

Another nurse anesthetist reported to the Ohio nursing board that Meehan once carried a gun into an operating room and exhibited drug-seeking tendencies, according to a case summary prepared by Luken for the Indiana State Board of Nursing. And Meehan was the subject of drug theft investigations in four states, according to police. 

>> MORE HISTORICAL CRIMES: This Dayton landlady helped nab infamous bank robber John Dillinger 

>> MORE: What you need to know about the Queen of Dayton’s Red Light District

John Meehan with his father, William Meehan, in San Jose, Calif., in the early 1960s. (Photo provided by Donna Meehan-Stewart/TNS)
Photo: Handout/TNS
Debra Newell, who had previously been married, started dating John Michael Meehan in 2014. They quickly got married, but she eventually realized he was a con artist. (Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Photo: Rick Loomis/TNS
The kitchen knife John Meehan used to attack Terra Newell. (Newport Beach Police Department/TNS)
Photo: Handout/TNS
John Meehan, had thick dark hair and a warm, friendly smile, but he also had a very troubling past. (Photo provided by Debra Newell/TNS)
Photo: Handout/TNS

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