Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Transgender Doubtfire arsonist sentenced to probation

Tyqwon Eugene Welch, in an undated photo, has been sentenced to probation for setting fire to the Mrs. Doubtfire house.

Tyqwon Eugene Welch, in an undated photo, has been sentenced to probation for setting fire to the Mrs. Doubtfire house.

A transgender woman was sentenced today (Thursday, June 4) to five years of probation for setting fire to the San Francisco home made famous in the 1993 Robin Williams film Mrs. Doubtfire.

Tyqwon Eugene Welch, 26, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty in May to two counts of unlawfully causing a fire to an inhabited structure and one count of possession of an incendiary device. She had previously proclaimed her innocence, saying in a jailhouse interview in March, “I didn’t do any of that stuff.”

Besides probation, Welch’s sentence also includes a year in jail, but because of the time she’s already served since her January arrest, she’s likely to be released today. She’s being allowed to serve her probation in Los Angeles.

Superior Court Judge James Collins ordered Welch, who didn’t make any statements about the fire Thursday, to stay 150 yards away from Dr. Douglas Ousterhout, who owns the Doubtfire home, and others. She also must register as an arsonist for life.

Ousterhout performed facial feminization surgery on Welch in 2014. She was unhappy with the results, and in January 2015, she set fire to the front door and garage doors of the doctor’s house, according to Welch’s plea and prosecutors.

In court today, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Clark expressed some concern that Welch would abide by the stay away order.

“There was some letter writing” and “computer work” up until the time of Welch’s May 14 plea, he said, and there’s a need to pay “close attention to whether or not the terms of that stay away order are being complied with,” he said.

Clark’s statement suggested Welch has been trying to contact Ousterhout, but he didn’t provide details of what exactly he was referring to. The district attorney’s office hasn’t responded to a request for more information. Ousterhout, who wasn’t in court Thursday, has previously declined requests for comment.

[Update:] An attorney familiar with the case said Welch sent a letter to Police Chief Greg Suhr, and someone posted negative comments about Ousterhout online. Since Welch has been in jail for five months, it’s unlikely she’s had access to a computer [End update].

When the Bay Area Reporter asked Deputy Public Defender Elizabeth Hilton, Welch’s attorney, after the hearing about what Clark had been talking about, she didn’t answer.

Instead, Hilton made it clear she’s still upset that the B.A.R. had interviewed Welch in jail. Hilton had declined to facilitate such a conversation, which Welch eventually proposed by sending an invitation to the paper via her mother.

“You have a right to interview my client,” Hilton said today, but it was “such a bad thing to do.”

Hilton said she understood the circumstances under which the interview had been conducted, and she started to say something else, but she stopped mid-sentence and walked away.

Hilton has suggested Welch pleaded guilty after previously declaring her innocence in order to avoid more serious punishment.

“Miss Welch considered the serious nature of the charges against her and the risks inherent in trial and decided this was the best resolution in light of those risks,” she said in an email earlier this week.

After Robin Williams’ suicide last August, many people left flowers and messages on the sidewalk and steps in front of Ousterhout’s home, at 2640 Steiner Street in Pacific Heights, to memorialize the actor.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 4, 2015 @ 2:54 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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