Belligerent Yohn fights with bailiffs at conclusion of motion hearing; jury selection to begin Monday

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Bradley Yohn looks through the legs of Chad Downs, a bailiff at the Adams County Courthouse, after Yohn and Kyle Ebers, another bailiff, fell during a struggle in the Adams County Courthouse on Friday afternoon. | David Adam

PLEASE READ THIS CAUTIONARY NOTE: Readers should understand this story and video contains vulgar language that may offend and shock some readers. Muddy River News believes it is necessary to report this information as it was provided in the Adams County Courthouse. Quoted material is from the court proceedings.

QUINCY — Bradley Yohn aggressively resisted attempts by Adams County bailiffs to remove him from a courtroom Friday afternoon and eventually tumbled to the ground with one of them after a 3½-hour motion hearing.

The trial for Yohn, 36, is scheduled to begin Monday morning with jury selection. Facing sexual assault, vehicular hijacking and home invasion charges, Yohn appeared in Adams County Circuit Court Friday before Judge Roger Thomson to defend himself pro se with public defender Todd Nelson serving as standby counsel.

Near the end of the hearing, Yohn argued a motion for the appointment of counsel — even though he has twice been appointed public defenders from Adams County and instead chose to represent himself. Thomson stopped Yohn because he believed he was arguing for a continuance in the case.

“Do you want to argue your motion for appointment of counsel, Mr. Yohn, or not?” Thomson asked. 

“That’s what I’m doing your honor,” Yohn replied. 

“No, you’re arguing about a motion to continue,” Thomson said.

“Your Honor, you don’t determine on how I argue my motion,” Yohn snapped back.

Yohn then said he “mentioned” that he would rather have a continuance, “but I’m not arguing that. Let’s make that clear. I mentioned it.”

Yohn then said he has “an absolute right to counsel.”

“I have an absolute right to fair(ness) and impartiality that’s not been given,” he said. “I have a right to proceed as a pro se defendant, I would think the courts would give me more than five years if I needed. (Other) lawyers have been given five years for other defendants who are currently incarcerated right now.”

“This is (for a) continuance,” Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Jones said. “This (argument) is not for the appointment of counsel. He should be arguing why he wants appointment of counsel.”

Yohn then said the courts, the judicial system, and the penal institution have “worked together” to not allow him to prepare for his trial.

“I’m having to be forced (to trial) because I don’t want to dedicate my life to prison due to my mess-ups in a situation where I’ve not been permitted the ability to function and formulate a defense,” he said. “I have been denied that ability. Now I have to go for appointment of counsel, although I don’t want to. … You people have denied me prejudice-ly here. You make me want to be a heinous person, which I’m not. That’s how I feel, because you’re railroading me. Now I have to go for an appointment of counsel, which is an absolute right if I want to have a chance at life.”

Yohn later said, “Let’s be logical, man. Of course, court rules. Court rules. Oh, f**k court rules.”

Jones argued that “we’ve been down this road before” and called Yohn’s request an attempt to delay the trial.

In his ruling against the motion, Thomson said Yohn’s right to counsel “began as an absolute.”

“But you have repeatedly waived that right,” he said. “Now, on July 3, when this motion for appointment for counsel was made, I can only find such as for the purpose of delay, especially given your repeated arguments that you would rather have a continuance than appointment of counsel. You feel that this is the only way to get that accomplished.”

“Make sure y’all have the mold out of this courthouse before I go back and file a major complaint with the people who I need to file it with,” Yohn threatened.

Thomson then advised Yohn that if he does now show for trial on Monday, his trial will begin without him and he will be sentenced in his absence.

“You have been warned,” Thomson said.

Jones then told Thomson he would prepare an order with all of the court’s rulings made Friday. Yohn asked if he would get a copy before he was taken to the jail. Thomson said he would if his behavior remained acceptable. When Yohn tried to interrupt, Thomson said, “I don’t need to respond to you.”

“You do,” Yohn said. “This is my life on the line.”

“Open your mouth and say another word and (you’ll be) removed from the court as a consequence,” Thomson said. “All I’m waiting for is the order to be drafted so I can review it and sign it. Wait for your copy, that’s fine. But I’m not going to have the chit-chatter and banter from you.” 

“I can’t place it on the record why … “ Yohn said.

Bradley Yohn looks through the legs of Chad Downs, a bailiff at the Adams County Courthouse, after Yohn and Kyle Ebers, another bailiff, fell during a struggle in the Adams County Courthouse on Friday afternoon. | David Adam

Thomson then pointed to bailiff Chad Downs and pointed to the courthouse door.

As Yohn persisted, Bailiff Kyle Ebers grabbed Yohn’s left arm. Yohn then said, “Get off me, dude!”

Still in shackles, Yohn swung his arms at Ebers and yelled expletives at him. Ebers dragged Yohn around a wooden partition in the courtroom and attempted to direct him to a door to the elevator for the jail. The two men eventually fell to the floor, where Yohn struggled more with Ebers. As Downs got Yohn to his feet, Yohn said, “Quit throwing me around.” The bailiffs eventually got Yohn to the door as he claimed he wasn’t resisting them. He then complained about an injured toenail as he left the courtroom.

Nearly two hours were spent Friday morning on two motions — one on excluding statements and hearsay testimony, and one for a change of venue.

He spoke for 27 consecutive minutes on the motion to exclude statements and hearsay testimony about medical treatment given to Christine “Tina” Lohman Schmitt, the woman Yohn allegedly assaulted. Jones argued Yohn presented no evidence that local law enforcement officials made her go a local hospital.

“I did not say law enforcement made her,” Yohn clarified. “I said ‘due to their persuasion.’”

Thomson denied the motion.

Yohn, Jones and Thomson then argued Yohn’s motion for a change of venue because of pretrial publicity for 70 minutes. Yohn had a 548-page motion with him at his table and called the amount of publicity “quite ridiculous.”

“I’m the most talked about person in Adams County,” he said.

He claimed he was misquoted in a Muddy River News report of his arraignment in Nov. 2021. MRN reported he said, “Kill me now, your honor, and take my life please.”

He claimed an impartial jury could not be found because of a report out of Springfield that said a deceased body was found in a gold Cadillac — which resembled a gold Cadillac he drove.

“That’s not being cleared up at all. There are people here in this community who believe I was riding around with a dead body in the trunk of my car,” Yohn said before pausing to tear up for about 15 seconds. 

Yohn also claimed that after an Aug. 19 hearing for alleged accomplice Karen Blackledge, WGEM-TV reported on a newscast that night that Yohn “was the one who forced himself into the home with a knife.” 

“For the media to put that in their coverage to all the community is further prejudice,” Yohn said.

Yohn also said he was confronted by a former Adams County bailiff who told him on Dec. 14, “Them were my friends, mother***er. You should hang. And if you don’t, and if I ever catch you, I will hang you myself. I hope you remember (Lohman Schmitt’s) face for the rest of your life. You should rot in prison.”

He also claimed his ex-wife has said “slanderous and defamatory” things about him on social media.

Yohn compared the publicity to his case to the Curtis Lovelace case in 2017. The first Lovelace trial in Quincy ended in a hung jury, and he later was found not guilty of the first-degree murder of his wife by a Sangamon County jury.

“Mr. Yohn is of the opinion that media coverage means he can’t get a fair trial,” Jones said.

In ruling against the motion, Thomson said news exposure does not demonstrate prejudice. 

“The jury may not be totally ignorant of the case,” he said. “There is no requirement that jurors be completely ignorant of the case. Pretrial publicity alone does not demonstrate prejudice. Jurors must be willing to be willing and able to put aside their preconceptions and decide the case on the evidence presented at trial.”

Thomson said 12 jurors will be chosen for the trial with three alternates. Opening statements are expected to be heard Tuesday.

Yohn is charged with home invasion with a dangerous weapon, home invasion predicated on criminal sexual assault, aggravated vehicular hijacking, aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon and residential burglary. He allegedly committed the crimes on Nov. 9, 2021, at the home of Lohman Schmitt. 

Yohn could be sentenced to serve between six and 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections if he’s found guilty of either count of home invasion, aggravated kidnapping or aggravated vehicular hijacking. He could receive four to 15 years if found guilty of residential burglary.

He could receive 16 to 40 years if found guilty of aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon. That sentence would be served consecutively with any other count for which he is found guilty. Thomson has discretion in the other five counts, if Yohn is found guilty, to have him serve them consecutively or concurrently.

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