Blackledge pleads guilty to two counts; will get 40 years in prison

Blackledge A

Karen Blackledge

QUINCY — A woman who was part of a team that beat and sexually assaulted a woman who ended up dying will get 40 years in prison for her part in the crime.

Karen Blackledge entered a guilty plea Friday afternoon in Adams County Circuit Court to two counts, one of home invasion and one of aggravated criminal sexual assault, both Class X felonies. All other charges were dropped.

Adams County Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Jones said the plea arrangement calls for Blackledge to receive 40 years in prison, two 20 year sentences served consecutively. Adams County Assistant Public Defender Chris Pratt concurred with the announcement.

The formal sentencing will take place on May 5. Blackledge will have to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence.

Blackledge acknowledged in court that on November 9, 2021, she entered a home on Quincy’s North Bottom Road illegally and while in the home as an accomplice used a weapon to penetrate an elderly woman. The victim later died.

Blackledge and Bradley S. Yohn, 34, were arrested November 10 in Springfield in connection with the incident. The Adams County Sheriff’s Office at the time reported Yohn and Blackledge allegedly threatened to used force to carjack a vehicle and kidnap an elderly woman, then allegedly forced himself into the woman’s home and assaulted her.

Yohn has been charged with two counts of home invasion, and one count each of aggravated kidnapping (allegedly using a knife) and aggravated vehicular hijacking— all Class X felonies punishable for between six to 30 years in prison — for his involvement in a November incident in Adams County. He also was charged with residential burglary, a Class 1 felony punishable for between four and 15 years in prison.

He also was charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault for knowingly committing the act of sexual penetration through the use of force — a Class X felony punishable for between 16 and 40 years in prison. 

He remains in Adams County Jail on $15 million bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 12.

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