SANTA ROSA – Is local resident Henry Pellouchoud Sholten a colorful character who likes to challenge people of their conventional lives and think differently, or is he mentally ill and crying for help while putting people in danger?
Sholten’s Facebook page presents images of his colorful paintings, often done on the back of manila envelopes, and videos of him singing songs while playing a guitar, accordion, or rapping to Booker T and the MG’s song “Green Onions”. But he has an extensive criminal history, and was arrested once again this week after causing extensive damage to a stranger’s vehicle for no apparent reason.
According to a story published in 2006 in the Sonoma West Times, Sholten’s noteworthy antics began in 2001. That site, along with the SF Gate, details how Sholten was arrested several times for disturbances and a “lack of clothing” at Healdsburg’s skate park. At an appearance in court for one of those infractions, Scholten leapt on a clerk’s table toward the judge and shouted, “You’ll never take me alive.” He was immediately subdued by bailiffs, according to the stories. However, they also report six convictions for misdemeanor battery, two for vandalism, and one for felony battery.
The SFGate quoted Healdsburg Fire Chief Randy Collins in describing a May 2003 incident when Sholten was at the Villa Chanticleer, a community owned event location that was once a resort hotel. Often used for weddings and other special occasions, at that time it was the location of Healdsburg High School’s prom. During a prank to “impress people” the 24-year-old man got stuck in the chimney, and had to be pulled out by the Fire Department. Around that time he was also known for driving a wildly painted van around town with the words “The Love Machine” on the side. He was known for singing and playing his guitar around town, and living in back alleys and near the Russian River.
All of that led to the 2006 incident when he was charged with four counts of arson, for starting structure fires in Healdsburg. He was reported to have started the fires using paper and other material, but when one of them, at a small residential style office building on Fourth Street didn’t take well enough, he returned and used an accelerant to get it going. He also apparently spread the word about his actions, and at least five people reported that he told them he had done it. One woman even had lunch on a park bench with him and recorded his confession on her phone. Then Police chief Susan Jones said “He said Healdsburg is a nice, quiet city but rather boring and he wanted to raise some chaos.”
During his trial, his mental competence was always at issue. He spent some time in Atascadero State Hospital and underwent several conflicting psycological evaluations after his arrest. He finally pleaded no contest in 2009 to two charges of arson, and was sentenced to five years, four months. With credit for time served, he was due for release and parole around 2009 or 2010. He was also ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution to the three area fire departments. The $500,000 estimated damage he caused was likely covered by insurance.
After his release, in 2010, Sholten posted this poem on his Facebook page:
Unknown vortexes, lay waiting in my subconscious.
Strange and familiar faces seems to whiz by when I close my eye’s at night.
I need no law to tell me what to do.
All I want to do is LOVE you, like the pants need the rain so do I.
Is this hello or goodbye?
I don’t know why, but before the sandman comes, I always lust for some comfort in a dog eat dog, lord of the flies and the man with the most toys typo world.
This looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship my dear did you see that movie were all hook on TV said the movie star in his or her mind they were.
At some point Sholten appears to have migrated south, to Santa Rosa. This Tuesday, September 16 at about 4 pm, police were called to a residential neighborhood in south Santa Rosa, on Deturk Avenue near the Fairgrounds. Someone had reported that a man had smashed out his car’s windows, and then threw a ladder at it, causing extensive body damage. The victim said he did not know the assailant. The responding officers saw the man nearby, who turned out to be Sholten. He ran away, however, and they set up a perimeter in the area. He was soon seen on the roof of one of the houses, and tried to get away, jumping from roof to roof.
Once he ran out of accessible roofs, he jumped to the ground, and ran inside one of the houses. He didn’t stay long, and was then climbing over fences. A resident then directed police to his backyard, where Sholten was found hiding in shrubbery. Despite being cornered, he did not give up easily. He fought off the officers, and one of them used his Taser gun to try to subdue him. Sholten removed the Taser probes and continued to fight until finally being subdued.
The 35-year-old was medically examined for any injury sustained during his attempt to escape, and then taken to Sonoma County Jail for booking on felony vandalism, resisting arrest, and three outstanding warrants for past vandalism and resisting arrest. He will no doubt undergo further psychological examination, but this last incident may put him over the “3 strikes” provision of California law and result in a much longer sentence than he has faced before. Doug McCasland, writer for the Sonoma West Times, quoted Sholten as saying in his 2006 court proceedings “I’m hecka bored in there, I got way too much stuff to do … Y’all should just let me go.” That likely won’t happen for a while this time.
Sonoma West Times: Henry Sholten arrested for arson