A Lady Who Held His Head "Like A Zombie" And Stabbed Him In The Eye Killed "Dirty John" Actor
A Lady Who Held His Head "Like A Zombie" And Stabbed Him In The Eye Killed "Dirty John" Actor

A Lady Who Held His Head “Like A Zombie” And Stabbed Him In The Eye Killed “Dirty John” Actor

John Meehan held his stepdaughter Terra Newell down on the roof of a parking garage, but he dropped his knife, which she picked up and used to stab him 13 times.

“I heard him gasp and fall on me when I started to make contact,” Newell told Fox News Digital in an exclusive video interview. “I held his head like a zombie so he wouldn’t bite me, and then the last two stab wounds I actually gave thought to. 

“I stabbed him in his forehead, and the last (stab) was through his eye, which is the softest point of entry to the brain which was the one that made him brain-damaged … I pushed him off of me. I tossed the knife away from his body, so he couldn’t grab it, and then studied a way to get away from him.”

But none of Newell’s neighbors in the bright coastal city of Newport Beach in southern California knew that day — August 20, 2016 — marked the end of a con artist’s reign of terror across multiple states as they raced to his help.

Christopher Goffard, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, did extensive coverage of the case, which was eventually featured in documentaries and a Netflix series. After his reporting, Meehan, also known as “Dirty John,” became the subject of Christopher Goffard’s true-crime podcast.

After the attack, Terra said, “I just remember saying, ‘My name is Terra. That was a stepdad. He tried to kill me. My name is Terra. That was my stepdad. He tried to kill me.’ And I kept repeating it over and over.”

Meehan was a former anesthesiologist nurse who preyed on women that he felt were easy targets. One of these ladies was Newell’s mother, Debra Newell, whom Meehan met on a dating site for people over the age of 50 in October of 2014. Meehan was a predator.

That occurred not long after he had been released from jail for breaching a restraining order that had been issued against another woman. Meehan swept Debra off her feet by telling her he was an anesthesiologist who had worked in Iraq with Doctors Without Borders when they first met. This was just one of the many lies he told her.

Terra and her sister both had the impression that the relationship was not healthy, and Terra got into a furious argument with Meehan shortly before Thanksgiving 2014, after discovering that her mother was cohabitating with Meehan.

A Lady Who Held His Head "Like A Zombie" And Stabbed Him In The Eye Killed "Dirty John" Actor
A Lady Who Held His Head “Like A Zombie” And Stabbed Him In The Eye Killed “Dirty John” Actor

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Debra and Meehan tied the knot in Las Vegas in December 2014 without inviting any visitors, and they enjoyed three months of wedded bliss before a member of Debra’s family informed her of Meehan’s prior criminal history. This decision was made in spite of the opposition of Debra’s daughters.

She broke up with him in March 2015, but they reconciled in June of the same year. She eventually parted ways with Meehan for good in March 2016, and she filed for an annulment the following month.

That’s when Meehan unraveled, and the situation turned violent, Terra said.

“Whenever a narcissist, a sociopath or a psychopath loses their control over someone, that’s when you’re most prone to being attacked or killed,” Terra said. “People like John don’t like losing control. That means that they lost like a sense of their self. And so, for him, he literally lost his control”. 

“My mom left him for the second time. He wasn’t getting any more money from her. She was starting to expose this person. And when you expose these type of people, that’s what really pisses them off.”

“He grabbed me by the waist. He looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Do you remember me?’ And I looked up at him and didn’t say anything because I immediately tried to run away from him,” Terra said. However, she was unable to flee the scene. She was initially punched, but afterwards discovered that she had been struck in the ribs multiple times.

“So I brought my purse up to protect my heart right before he got me, and I just was getting punched, so I thought. He covered my mouth. I hit him as hard as I could. I bit him. I screamed, I was yelling and I just tried to run away and fight back,” Terra said.  During the fight, she had a service dog that barked at and bit Meehan.

“I fell back, and I fell on my right shoulder. And then he was on top of me. That’s when I realized I was actually being stabbed by him because he concealed the knife in a Del Taco bag,” she said.

During the scuffle, the knife ended up falling by her side. She was able to recall snatching it and using it to attack Meehan. She managed to escape after delivering the thirteenth and fatal blow, which went through his eye.

Terra, who is now 31 years old, has developed coping mechanisms to help her manage the traumatic experience as well as acute panic attacks while she is putting herself back together, both physically and mentally. In a 2019 interview with Fox News, Terra said she has “healed so much.”

“People need to know that bad things can happen, and you should never let those things hold you back or get you down. The most important thing I have learned is to keep going and stay positive,” Terra said.

“I am so happy I am alive to share this message, to reflect on all the amazing opportunities that have come about from such a traumatic event and to celebrate another year of living life to the fullest.”

She stated that even now, over four years after that interview, there are situations in which a series of events could spark a spiral, such as dogs howling, abusive remarks on social media, or a TV scene in which a survivor fends off an attack.

“All those little triggers add up, and then I’m in a bad place,” she said.  But she is now in a better place and is helping other survivors and the families of survivors.

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About Sam Houston 1811 Articles
Hello, I'm Sam Houston, and I'm proud to be a part of the journalistpr.com team as a content writer. My journey into journalism has been quite an exciting ride, and it all began with a background in content creation. My roots as a content writer have equipped me with the essential skills needed to craft engaging narratives and convey information effectively. This background proved invaluable when I decided to make the transition into journalism. The transition allowed me to channel my storytelling abilities into producing news articles that not only inform but also captivate our readers.

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