by Bruce McEwen, May 10, 2017
The popular soap opera on South State starring the dashing Zebulon Zale Couthern and co-starring Mandy Etta Grinsell has entered its 27th season to much applause of the canned type. Judge Richard Henderson, one of the starcrossed couple’s most devoted fans, was on hand to enjoy this latest episode in the popular drug and alcohol-fueled domestic drama.
The charming Ms. Grinsell took the stand to describe how she was walking down the sidewalk in the 900 block of South State Street on April 14th, an adorable puppy wrapped protectively in her arms, when Ms. Grinsell ran smack into the dashingly suave Mr. Couthern, her ex of some 27 years. The cad proceeded to wrench her puppy from her loving arms and threatened Ms. G with great bodily harm.
After Ms. Grinsell had left the courtroom, Couthern’s lawyer, Anthony Adams, put his client on the stand to tell his side of the story.
Adams: “Did she have the puppy in her arms, holding it to her breast?”
Couthern: “Yes she did.”
Adams: “Did you take it from her?”
Couthern: “Yes I did.”
Couthern: “Because it was mine.”
Adams: “So you believed you owned the puppy?”
Couthern: “I did own it. It was mine.”
Adams: “Were you angry?”
Couthern: “Yes I was.”
Couthern: “Because she stole my dog from me.”
Adams: “But you didn’t keep it, did you?”
Couthern: “No, I gave it back to her.”
Couthern: “Because she was so sad. She said she needed something to love, and I felt sorry for her.”
Adams: “How long have you been associated with Ms. Grinsell?”
Couthern: “For 27 years now.”
Adams: “Did you threaten her in any way?”
Deputy DA Scott McMenomey, another devoted fan of Ukiah's longest-running soap, began his cross examination:
McMenomey: “In 2012 you were convicted of a violation of Penal Code 69 [resisting arrest], were you not?”
Couthern: “Yes I was.”
McMenomey: “And again in 2014*?”
McMenomey: “And there was a restraining order** in place prohibiting you from approaching Ms. Grinsell?
Couthern: “I didn’t approach her – she approached me.”
McMenomey: “Weren’t you supposed to stay away from her?”
Couthern: “I repeat: She approached me.”
McMenomey: “Did she have the puppy in her arms?”
Couthern: “Yes, she did.”
McMenomey: “And you forcibly grabbed the dog from her?”
Couthern: “I took the dog back; it was mine.”
McMenomey: “Well, then, what’s the dog’s name?”
Couthern: “It didn’t have a name. I hadn’t had it that long and hadn’t named it yet.”
McMenomey: “Who did you buy it from?”
Couthern: “Julie Hutchins in Willits.”
McMenomey: “Did you buy just one or did it have a litter mate?”
Couthern: “Just the one.”
McMenomey: “Did you go to Willits to get it?”
Couthern: “No, she brought the dog to my house.”
McMenomey: “What kind of dog was it?”
Couthern: “A chow and Chihuahua cross.”
McMenomey: “Once you grabbed it, how long before you gave it back to Ms. Grinsell?”
Couthern: “An hour, maybe two.”
McMenomey: “That’s all I have.”
Judge Henderson held Couthern to answer on second degree robbery and assault, along with contempt of a court order for breaking the terms of the stay-away order, and a violation of his probation.
* * *
ON AUGUST 1st  at about 2:15 PM Ukiah Police responded to a residence in the 100 block of Observatory Avenue for a violation of a restraining order and the suspect refusing to leave. Officers learned that 39 year old Zebulon Couthern had a restraining order against him, prohibiting him from being within 100 yards of the victim. Couthern was located seated outside the residence and had been drinking. Couthern was arrested for violating the court order, and once handcuffed became belligerent and repeatedly tried to physically get away from the arresting officer. Couthern continued to twist his body and try to pull away from the officer, nearly spit on the officer, and made several threats. Couthern was also charged with resisting arrest.
On August 6th at about 8:20 AM officers returned to the residence for Couthern having damaged the front door. Officers learned Couthern had returned to the residence at about 7:00 AM after being released from jail, and had again been drinking and tried to push his way into the residence, damaging the door. Couthern was located nearby, and placed under citizen’s arrest for vandalism.
* * *
On Wednesday, November 5th  at about 11:50 PM Ukiah Police responded to the Motel 6, at 1208 South State Street, for a domestic disturbance. Arriving officers saw the involved parties in the doorway of the upper level room, and a 6 year old child run from the room. The female appeared upset and was trying to leave, and officers instructed the male to wait in the doorway. The male stepped back into the room and closed the door, and officers reopened the door and detained the male subject, identified as 40 year old Zebulon Zale Couthren. Officers determined Couthern and 39 year old Mandy Etta Grinsell had been arguing, and that Couthren had thrown Grinsell down several times. Officers noticed loose marijuana strewn about the room, as well as numerous hypodermic syringes some of which contained liquid methamphetamine. Both Couthern and Grinsell had been using methamphetamine, and a court order was in place prohibiting anything but peaceful contact between them. Couthern was arrested for domestic violence and for violating the court order, child endangerment, and being under the influence of a controlled substance. Grinsell was arrested for drug influence, child endangerment, and violating probation. The couple’s 6 year of child was released to the custody of Child Protective Services.