ST. CLOUD -- A St. Cloud man charged with multiple crimes including domestic assault, burglary, and arson has reached a plea agreement on the charges.

Thirty-six-year-old James Scholtes, also known in court documents as James Jochum has pleaded guilty to 1st-degree burglary and felony threats of violence in Stearns County. He's expected to plead guilty to felony domestic assault next month in Benton County. Several other charges including kidnapping, arson, and burglary have been dismissed as part of the agreement.

The agreement also calls for a prison term of more than five years.

St. Cloud Police responded to the hospital at about 3:00 a.m. on June 20th, 2021. A woman said Scholtes had locked her in the bedroom for hours and assaulted her multiple times. Scholtes was accused of dragging her down the stairs by her hair, punching her in the face multiple times, hitting her in the ribs with a baseball bat, throwing items at her, and threatening to pour gasoline on her and light her on fire. She was eventually able to escape and go to the police.

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About a month later, Scholtes allegedly assaulted his mother at her Benton County home.  She told police he had come to pick up a vehicle and when she opened the door to hand him the keys, she said he hit her twice in the face and once in the back of her head.

On July 23rd, St. Cloud Police were called to the 1500 block of 2nd Street North just before 11:00 p.m. A man said Scholtes broke into his home, ran up the stairs in a threatening manner, and carrying a small pocket knife. The homeowner picked up a bat and chased Scholtes down the stairs. Scholtes locked the homeowner in the stairwell and left the scene.

The victim said he believed Scholtes was upset the victim from the June assault had been hanging out there and believed he came to assault her.

About five hours later, at 3:40 a.m., police were called back to the address for another burglary in progress. This time Scholtes allegedly kicked in a door and used a piece of wood from the broken door, went upstairs, and hit the homeowner in the face with it. Upon leaving, Scholtes allegedly stole $500 and a cell phone.

Police were called back a third time in less than 10 hours when a call came in just after 7:00 a.m. about a residence fire. The victim told police he had propped himself up in a chair in case Scholtes came back. He eventually fell asleep and woke up to a loud noise with Scholtes allegedly on the roof of his porch and coming toward him.

The man fled to a neighbor's house to ask for help but no one answered. He returned to his home to a smell of lighter fluid and a burning smell.

Again, the victim ran to a neighbor's house, saw Scholtes running from the scene and smoke coming from his home. Firefighters arrived and put out the flames.

The home and several of its contents experienced either fire or smoke damage.

Scholtes has numerous previous convictions related to domestic assault and violations of no-contact orders.

 

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