Convicted Sex Offender Living in Willits Allegedly Beat His Wife With a Maglite, Fled, and Has Not Been Seen Since

John Couthern

All photos of John Couthern were shared by his wife unless otherwise noted.

On the night of June 10, 2020, convicted sex offender John Lann Couthern allegedly used a Maglite to savagely beat his wife in Willits, California. He fled the scene, cut off his parole-required ankle monitor leaving it on the side of Highway 20, and has not been seen since.

According to the Willits woman who suffered at the hands of Couthern (Redheaded Blackbelt has chosen to withhold her name so as not to revictimize her), he was released from a 22-year prison sentence in January 2020. She described marrying him in February 2019 while he was still incarcerated. The woman said that, in the last month, “we agreed that the marriage was not working. We didn’t know if we could do an annulment or divorce because the courts have been closed because of COVID.” Once they decided to dissolve their marriage, the Willits woman said, “It was awkward for sure but there was no screaming, yelling, or fighting.”

On the night of the attack, she described sleeping outside in her yard where she had set up a bed and television “because it gets hot at night” and woke up startled at 11:00 pm feeling “like John was standing over me.” She recalled getting out of her bed and looking around the yard and found him “lurking by some bushes.”

Though odd, fatigue took over and the woman recalled returning to her bed. It was approximately 1:30 a.m. when she woke up to Couthern “smashing me in the head with a flashlight.” As the blows rained down upon her, she remembers Couthern saying, “I love you. Look what you’re making me do. I’m going back to prison for attempted murder.”

John Couthern

Lieutenant Hendry described Willits Police Department Officers arriving on scene and finding Couthern’s wife “bleeding profusely from the head and holding her head with a towel covered in blood.” She was taken to Howard Memorial Hospital, officers proceeded to obtain a search warrant, and officers searched the property for any indication of where Couthern might have gone.

John CouthernAfter beating his wife to the point of requiring 30 stitches and staples, Willits Police Department’s Lieutenant Derek Hendry surmises Couthern fled the area driving his gold Ford Ranger and removed the ankle-monitor required by his parole conditions. Lieutenant Hendry says parole was notified the ankle-monitor had been removed and left on the side of Highway 20 and Couthern could have proceeded west.

Couthern’s wife said she knows him as a “survivalist” and described many letters sent to her from prison where Couthern described how to live off the land. In the days preceding the brutal attack, she had been informed by a friend in Willits that Couthern was seen at the local Dollar Store buying large amounts of groceries and supplies. In the aftermath of the attack, she recounted a strange decision Couthern made that now makes sense in the light of his disappearance: he dyed his gray hair brown. These two factors led her to conclude Couthern was “planning his escape.”

Since his release from prison in January 2020, Couthern has been overwhelmed with life outside of the institution. His wife described him saying, “The world is crazy, it moves too fast, and jail was helluva a lot easier than this.”

Couthern is listed on the Megan’s Law website for the crimes that led him to his extended prison sentences. His wife said his previous crimes include “oral copulation with a minor” and “kidnapping a young girl and a 25-year-old woman.”

John Couthern

John Couthern on the Megan’s Law website. Note: his wife says his middle name isn’t Lonn, it’s Lann.

Lieutenant Hendry said a BOLO has been sent out to all Northern California law enforcement and Probation told him they were collaborating with Federal Marshalls and Fish and Wildlife in their search for him.

John Lann Couthern is 68 years old, 5’ 8’’, and 180 pounds. He is clean-shaven and currently has brown hair. He was last known to be wearing a brown hoodie with the text “VOKAL” across the front and possibly Kirkland brand blue jeans. The vehicle he is last known to be associated with is a Gold Ford Ranger with a gold camper shell (License CA#5W25626).

Photo of truck

Collage of truck and license plate.

Lieutenant Hendry asks for the public to keep their eyes open for Couthern: “We know this guy has been in prison for 22 years for a sex crime. He gets out, he beats his wife with a flashlight, he cuts off his ankle bracelet to avoid detection. If the public happens to see him or his vehicle, keep your distance and dial 911.”



  • We should defund the police, this guy is just doing his own thing.

    • If you look into what “de-fund the police” means you will see that it is not a suggestion to complete de-fund the police but rather redirect much of their funding to other public services, that the police shouldn’t have to deal with anyway.

      • So instead of paying for police presence( like extra manpower/task force )to catch this pos, we defund (take away) that money and do something else with it, something really really good.

        • Because what’s going on now is working, eh?

          The cops in Mendo have been complaining for years about having to deal with ‘mental illness’. It’s really not their purview. As society crumbles with end stage capitalism, there will only be more.

          People need support, not jail.

          We need each other–we are not meant to live as autonomous individuals. Divided we are bested but united what could we not do??

    • If we de-fund the fire department we can stop the fire.

      • Why not have volunteer police 👮‍♀️

      • Look at the Aaron Bassler case. Alot of stress and bloodshed would have been avoided if he could have had access to mental health care instead of in and out jail stints.

    • Are you flipping crazy or just a criminal hoping that we end up with no police to protect the innocent

    • Doing his thing? He beat up his wife!!! Do you condone that?

    • Totally agree. It’s always the police fault. Just let him be. His life matters. Smh.

    • If the police (as a whole) weren’t required to deal with animals, mental health, homelessness, traffic violations, just to name some big points, wouldnt they have more time to catch the bad guys?

      • Yeah and what if the bad guys didn’t act like assholes and resist, fight, run, grab tasers, fire tasers, etc. life would go a whole lot smoother.

        • Is that a response? I mean the bad guys are going to exist regardless.. But expecting cops to wear so many hats at once, to me, seems like a waste of money.

          Referring to a singular incident in a half thought way probably doesn’t help that argument either.

          • Lead always beats a bright yellow tazer that has already been discharged. By the way.

            • Exactly the point

              Yeah. How far was he gonna run. They could have let him walk home and said” come pick up your keys tomorrow”

        • Yeah, well I think that guy was thinking about the last black guy, hand cuffed on his stomach. Didn’t work out so well for that dude!

        • So you care about Blue Lives huh?
          You know it’s coming out that several of the Sheriffs/Guards murdered in Oakland, and Ben Lomond were killed by Boogaloo Bois right wing militia.

          It will be interesting to see if there are other related crimes around the Country, and whats happening with the Black men found hanging from trees in Southern CA. Suspicious AF.

          • Yep. The truth will be found out, and people will be brought to justice. Life isn’t a game, or an endless asinine joke circle. These are real lives being taken. Om mani padme hum, Justice for Josiah and all others taken from us by the evil sin of extrajudicial killings committed by rotten men. 😑💛💐

    • Who you gonna call when someone is pulling you out of your car to steal it or kicking in your front door in the middle of the night. Not all police are bad just like not all black men are drug dealers, robbers or pumps !

      • Ya cops never rip people out of cars? Or steal cars (asset forfeiture) ? Or kick down doors..

      • Mr smith and Wesson or maybe Sam colt they allways answer the call

        • I’m not able to use my Second Amendment rights unless I lie on the application form to purchase a gun.

          I use weed instead of prescription morphine and in order to purchase a weapon for self defense I have to break the law.

          —insert bullshit emojis here—

          • Then lie or quit for two weeks, if you don’t brake the law then then law won’t know you already broke the law, you started smoking after you purchased the firearm if you are questioned

    • I’d be fine with defunding the police as long as community action against perpetrators like this is allowed.

  • Amazing that this guy was ever let out of prison.

    Amazing that she would marry someone in prison a sex offenser to boot.

    I am not sure what type of person she expected him to be. Kidnapping and rape.

    Hopwfully she is okay and hopefully the cops get him before he hurts anyone else.


  • Well…I for one am scared to death for my life! So if I run into him I might -out of an abundance of fright and concern for my own survival- kill him. And by doing so I will have done what our snowflake society should have done in the first place. Oral copulation with a minor, kidnapping a mom and her daughter and raping them? Eventually you will have to admit that my constant and insistent comments about bringing back and expanding capital punishment are worth considering. There are disgusting and evil predators around- they really do exist! – and we should not be wasting our compassion on them.

    • Either a 5’9″ 68 year old is a serious threat to you, or you are capable of killing him. Pick one. You might want to brush up on self defense law as well. I do support life sentences for rapists.

      • I pick…both. He is unpredictable, violent and so yes- he is dangerous. I am very scared! And when I’m scared because somebody presents a clear and present threat to me then I defend myself!! I’m sure a jury would believe me…or 1 out of 12. I also think rape of a minor is a serious crime. And kidnapping. This guy should have never been released. Capital punishment needs to be a daily event.

        • How many black men have been released from prison because they were convicted of crimes they did not commit? Unless you can guarantee justice is perfectly served, it is an abomination to murder convicted criminals. More severe penalties? Yes. You should move to China, or perhaps Saudi Arabia.

  • Why don’t they put a gps chip in people like this instead of ankle bracelet that can be cut off. When their parole is up how many years that would be, it automatically shuts off. You would never loose track of them. Just my opinion.

    • The tech doesn’t exist. You need a big battery to transmit a strong enough signal for active tracking. The RFID chips that are used in animals are passive and are “pinged” by a radio wave at short distance to give data back. The range for that a few feet.

      • You see that Amash introduced a bill to end qualified immunity?

        • Yes. Unfortunately I don’t think it has any legs…

          The Cops Who Sicced a Dog on a Surrendered Suspect Got Qualified Immunity. SCOTUS Won’t Hear the Case.

          “Justice Clarence Thomas, often characterized as the Supreme Court’s most right-wing member. In a lone dissent today, he expresses his desire to hear Baxter v. Bracey (2018), a case in which two cops received qualified immunity after siccing a police dog on a surrendering suspect as he sat on the ground with with his hands up.”

          “I have previously expressed my doubts about our qualified immunity jurisprudence,” writes Thomas. “Because our §1983 qualified immunity doctrine appears to stray from the statutory text, I would grant this petition.”

          Senate Republican Police ‘Reforms’ Won’t Touch Qualified Immunity
          With Trump opposed too, there’s little hope that a serious police reform bill will get through Congress anytime soon.

      • Ultra Rover… one of your fellow white males in the news again for a horrific violent crime, of course, nothing to say about that.

  • Kind of odd that all these individual pics of truck were taken in advance? Marrying this pos while in prison? I guess you get what you pay for.

    • You don’t have photos of your significant other? I’ve got a bunch.

      • No, pics of truck w license plate detatched was odd. I wonder is there a tinder dating app for prison inmates? LMAO

        • You know what has the world come to if it’s not safe to marry a sex offender/kidnapper in prison? I’m not victim blaming but, really? Really? It’s always the ones you least expect….

        • Willits is cray cray

          I’m going to venture a guess that she took pictures of his truck herself because her been violent before, or maybe took a picture of something else in the driveway and the truck happened to be in the photos so they cropped them to show the truck.. And maybe he ditched his liscense plate because he’s on the run.

  • Bettylou Walpole

    I have pictures of my sweetheart, pictures of all our cars, pictures of things he holds dear to his heart, addresses of all his relatives and friends, and more, I even have photo copies of both of our SS numbers and driver’s license
    So it’s not odd at all that she had pictures.
    In these days and times it’s good to have all that in case of fire, flood, or some other problem.

  • North Makes Sense

    Jackson State Forest, Usal, Coastal Campgrounds are closed, there are few options, he won’t survive long if he thought living outside of prison was hard, the woods are much harder than a home and fridge for food…. If he removed ankle moniter going West, he probably went North or maybe South… but most likely North. Serious situation with a deranged sexual psychopath on the run….

  • There’s no cure for guys like him

  • I’d say a life sentence in general population would be good. I have no sympathy for this kind of garbage criminal.

  • “It was approximately 1:30 pm when she woke up to Couthern “smashing me in the head with a flashlight.” ”

    Probably 1:30 AM…?

  • I’m not one to victim blame but marry a guy in prison for being a sex offender? really?, Kind of like sticking your thumb out for a ride in the middle lane of I-5, in a corner, in the dark, wearing black clothes.

    • Some women fall for the “pen pal” hustle from prisoners and some of them pay an awful price. The hustlers are good at affecting a bogus personality. Then there’s the bad-boy mystique that leads some to marry convicted killers in prison.

      • I have a friend who parents met in prison, but he was in for armed robbery. She was there with a ministry group. After his release they married and had 2 kids. He past after 40 yrs, happy marriage. Their kids are to of the most amazing people I know. Rehabilitation is possible, but predators, especially child predators, are not curable. There’s something permanently wrong with them, chemical imbalance or just broken. They really should be locked away for life. She must be real lonely to have looked past his nasty. Hope she heals and learns to make better choices. She’s lucky to be alive.

  • Is that the assault weapon in the first pic?
    Also, if those are his meds in the pill boxes then he may need to get them refilled, so pharmacies should BOLO too.

  • I really hope he didnt come north we dont need this in humboldt

  • So, it happened on 6-10 and he’s had 5 days to get away?
    It seems common that people don’t know to BOLO in a timely manner.
    He could be in NY by now.
    Does he have family? Friends?
    The community could be a lot more helpful if they got info. sooner.

  • That’s Woody Allen. I wondered why he wasn’t making movies for the last 22 years.

  • Camden, New Jersey is often held up as a example of how “defunding the police” will work. Perhaps one needs to look at Camden.

    “ The Camden County police force was created with little public input, using political muscle and a process some called union-busting. And though many residents now agree the department has reduced crime and improved relationships with the community, mistrust lingers, and despite efforts to diversify, the force remains whiter than the largely nonwhite city it serves.”

    The police force was “laid off” (fired) and to reapply To the county for jobs. Those hired had fewer benefits, lower pay and no union.

    The result:
    “ The budget for the new police force, which like the old one depends heavily on state aid, ended up millions higher that first year than what the city had planned to spend, and it has continued to grow. Camden budgeted $68.45 million last year for police. Paterson, a North Jersey city with almost double Camden’s population, estimated its annual police costs at $44.72 million.”

    Based on this Camden’s “defund the police” didn’t result in savings.

    Much of the funding depends on money from the state. This can happen:
    “ In 2011, state budget woes led to almost half the department’s approximately 400 officers being laid off under then-Gov. Chris Christie. A period of devastating crime followed, with the city of fewer than 80,000 people logging a record 67 homicides in 2012.”

    What it’s like in Camden today?
    “ In 2010, Camden had roughly 77,000 residents; today, the number is closer to 70,000. In addition to fewer people, there are also fewer public housing complexes, less affordable housing, and fewer Section 8 offerings within city limits. There is also a widely held suspicion among Camden residents that violent crimes are going unreported in media and reclassified at department headquarters as nonviolent offenses. ”

    Finally, about the union:
    “ But the force has since unionized again, and costs have grown, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Camden budgeted $68.45 million for cops last year, while Paterson — which has twice the population — spends an estimated $44.72 million a year on police.”

  • Terribly written and completely unedited “article. ” Most embarrassing and unprofessional. It reads like a drug induced delusion, too. Woman in her yard at night with a TV. Crazy ex con with a flashlight. Prison marriage. Befuddled police.

    Twin Peaks, NorCal style ( the writing and the incident).

  • Judith Newfoundland

    Stays by the ugly pervert for 22 years in the Penn and he beats her head in. Men ain’t shit.

  • How in the hell

    How does a woman go about meeting a prison sex offender anyways, do they just look up sex offenders and start writing them love letters until they find one who will Marry them? I mean, this is insanity, did she know he was a rapist and pedophile? Insane!
    How did these two even meet???

  • Well it doesn’t seemed to have worked out very well. The picture of him in his prison sweat suit with a bong in hand is telling.

  • Since we are defunding law enforcement, send a mental health worker to pick him up or Dr. Phil!

  • Your right that is a grinder on the table though.

  • Put out a bounty on a guy like this, lots of unemployed folk could use some dough!!

  • Hog the Bounty Hunter

    Warrant money used to go as a bounty.

  • Can u give us an update Kym? Did they catch this guy??

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