Before LA, ‘Dirty John’ Meehan stole drugs here and hid in an elevator shaft after jumping from an ambulance

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.

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Dayton Daily News reporter Larry Budd first heard about John Meehan, the subject of “Dirty John,” a limited Bravo TV series set to debut at 10 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25.

The series 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.

What Meehan did in Dayton plays a critical part in the story.

After getting the name "Dirty John" as a student at  University of Dayton, Meehan married Tonia Sells, a nurse, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dayton in 1990.

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Sells, his first wife, helped put Meehan 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  Budd.

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As he explains in the video above, Budd began investigating Meehan after hearing about a man who brought a gun into a local hospital.

He later covered Meehan’s trial  before Butler County Common Pleas Judge Patricia Oney on drug charges.


Meehan, a former Hamilton resident, was suspected of stealing drugs from hospitals where he worked in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, including Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Budd reported. 
His profession allowed him to administer powerful medications to patients, sometimes without a doctor's supervision.

On March 1, 2002  Meehan pleaded guilty to theft of drugs from Fort Hamilton Hospital in Butler County.

The conviction was  a culmination of an 18-month investigation into allegations that he stolen drugs from hospitals in four states.

He was arrested June 11, 2002  in Michigan, the same day he was to surrender to Butler County authorities and begin a six-month term in a minimum security jail for drug offenders in Warren County, Budd reported. 
Instead of turning himself in, Meehan fled to Michigan where he overdosed on drugs in a hotel room.

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He jumped from an ambulance "with some narcotics in hand" and ran into the shopping center.

Meehan kicked a Michigan state trooper trying to force him from a hiding place above an elevator in a Saginaw mall.
He received an up to six years for resisting arrest and possession of drugs in Michigan.

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