‘He was nothing but difficult from day one’: Sheriff says Yohn was nightmare during 20-month stay in Adams County Jail

Yohn in DOC

QUINCY — Bradley Yohn is no longer in Adams County. 

He was taken to Graham Correctional Center, a medium security adult male correctional facility two miles southeast of Hillsboro on Route 185, on Tuesday morning — less than 24 hours after an Adams County jury found him guilty in his criminal sexual assault trial.

“Thank God,” Adams County Sheriff Tony Grootens said. “If the jury would have come back sooner (Monday afternoon), we would have been able to get rid of him (Monday night). He needed to go.”

Jurors deliberated for 2 hours and 45 minutes Monday afternoon before finding Yohn guilty of six counts — home invasion with a dangerous weapon, home invasion predicated on criminal sexual assault, aggravated vehicular hijacking, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon and residential burglary.

Yohn assaulted Christina “Tina” Lohman Schmitt and invaded her home on Nov. 9, 2021. She died 33 days later after the attack on Dec. 12, 2021.

Grootens said it is typical for a person found guilty of a felony to remain in the Adams County Jail until they receive their sentence before being sent to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

“But we didn’t want to (keep Yohn in jail), believe me,” he said. “We wanted to get rid of him.”

In a separate case, Yohn was sentenced June 8 to seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections — which is why Grootens got him out of the Adams County Jail as quickly as he did. An Adams County jury found Yohn guilty on April 11 of one count of possessing contraband in a penal institution. The jury believed Yohn hid two thumb drives on Nov. 15 in his cell, which is not permitted by the Adams County Jail. 

Yohn will receive between 16 to 40 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections on the aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon count. That sentence would be served consecutively with the other counts.

Judge Roger Thomson has discretion in the other five counts to have Yohn serve them consecutively or concurrently. Yohn is eligible to receive between six and 30 years for the two home invasion counts, aggravated kidnapping or aggravated vehicular hijacking. He faces four to 15 years for residential burglary.

Yohn will receive on Sept. 1 what will be the equivalent of a life sentence, Assistant State’s Attorney Laura Keck said.

“We’re starting at 70 years and working up from there,” Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Jones said in a post-verdict press gathering on Monday.

Grootens has more than 40 years of experience and leadership, including work with the United States Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration. He says Yohn was a one-of-a-kind prisoner during his 20-month stay.

“It’s just been a nightmare,” Grootens said. “I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve worked all over our country. I’ve never seen anything like him. I’ve seen bad before. They’re bad actors, so you’re going to have problems. But this guy was completely in a whole ‘nother area.”

How disruptive was Yohn in the Adams County Jail? Depends on who you listen to.

Yohn routinely told Judge Roger Thomson he was not a problem. He was wearing a rosary during his June 8 sentencing when he said, “I don’t do anything. And I will state this quote from my own mouth. I am an angel … when I’m in a regular pod, unless I get into a fight and defend myself.”

During a Feb. 2 motion hearing, Yohn said, “I’m a very pleasant individual in this jail. And if you pull every correction officer to the side, they will say the same. I’m very, very extremely pleasant. I’m helpful, I’m respectful, and I’m not the person I’m made out to be, your honor.”

Grootens laughed when reminded of those comments.

“None of (the corrections officers) liked him,” he said. “None of them. He was nothing but difficult from day one.”

Grootens said Yohn cost Adams County “thousands and thousands and thousands” of dollars in damage done in several different ways — but most of it was done to the cell area.

“He plugged up one of the toilets downstairs, and it overflowed all over the bottom floor (of the jail),” the sheriff said. “It was terrible, and it was nasty. He did it intentionally. We had to call in a plumbing service. They had to take (the toilet) all apart to get down in there and grab a hold of this rubber cup. We give them rubber cups so (prisoners) can’t use them as a weapon. But (Yohn) plugged the toilet.

“It’s pathetic, the stuff he’s done.”

Grootens said Yohn would save his own feces in his toilet and either smear it on the walls in his cell or throw it at corrections officers. He also made several drawings on the walls.

“He did it all the time. It wasn’t unusual,” Grootens said. “He was like that from the first day he was in there. Every time we repaint the walls, it costs us $3,000. He was nuts. He was absolutely nuts.”

Grootens said he went in to check on another inmate on the day after a belligerent Yohn fought with bailiffs during his pretrial hearing on July 7 before his trial started July 10.

“I came into the office that morning, went into the control room and was talking to the young lady working there,” Grootens said. “I asked, ‘Where’s one of the corrections guys?’ She says, ‘Oh, they’re going back to Bradley Yohn’s pod.’ He was in there causing a disturbance with other inmates, and the deputies went down there to tell him knock it off. 

“(Yohn) started screaming at them and said, ‘I’m gonna kill you.’ He was making the motion like he was going to slash their throats. He wanted them to come in there and beat him up so he could get trial postponed. They open the door, and Yohn takes a swing up one of them. He steps back, and they taze him. I was laughing at him. He was screaming like a little girl.

“Then they strap into this chair for four hours, and it’s probably one of the most humiliating things you can do to a human being. That shut him up. We didn’t have any more trouble.”

Grootens said the jail typically has about 125 inmates, and most of them are not a behavior problem. He said Yohn typically was the exception and spent much of his time in solitary confinement — which Yohn called “the hole.”

“What are you going to do with him?” Grootens said. “Every time he’s with other inmates, he starts fights or causes destruction in a cellblock. As long as you have him by himself, you can control it. But it’s crazy. This guy is out there.”

The jail staff didn’t throw a going-away party for Yohn when he left Tuesday.

“I told the guys to disinfect his cell so any trace of him was gone,” Grootens said.

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