Jason Priest faces more misdemeanor charges; allegedly threatens judge, who decides to recuse himself
QUINCY — Jason Priest appeared in Adams County Circuit Court on Friday morning after the Adams County State’s Attorney’s office filed a motion this week for bond to be modified or increased in cases against him. Priest also was making a first appearance on two other court cases.
However, the hearing was continued to Monday because Judge Tad Brenner learned earlier in the day that yet another charge against Priest (threatening a public official, a Class 3 felony) was going to be filed soon — and Brenner was that official.
When Brenner made that announcement, Priest said, “There is no way that would come out of my mouth, and you know it. I’m a professional protester, a lobbyist.”
Brenner told the courtroom he must recuse himself from any cases involving Priest, who now will appear Monday before Judge Bob Adrian.
While Brenner explained why he is recusing himself, Priest said, “If one person said another person did something, you’d put them in jail?”
He later said, “Just kill me in this jail.” Then, as bailiffs led him from the courtroom, Priest said, “I’ve got to go to jail because of my mouth? Ha ha.”
Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha says probable cause has been found in the case involving Brenner, but Priest has yet to be formally charged.
Priest, 50, will make his first appearance Monday in connection with two Class C disorderly conduct misdemeanors he was charged with this week. He allegedly yelled, “Brownies, they are coming for you next,” at two African American minors outside a Quincy school on Wednesday. He also allegedly stood in front of the south entrance of the Adams County Courthouse and yelled vulgarities and obscenities at a woman on Thursday.
Farha also said his office is investigating similar incidents involving Priest at two other Quincy schools on Wednesday.
Priest, who typically appears in public wearing dresses and women’s underwear, has been charged with six misdemeanors and one felony since May 27. He also has been charged with four ordinance violations, and Quincy Mayor Mike Troup has an emergency summons protective order against Priest after he said, “Jesus has 10 sticks of dynamite for you,” during an Aug. 1 meeting of the Quincy City Council.
Bond was set at $10,000 in the case against Priest regarding his comments to African American minors on Aug. 24, and he posted 10 percent. Bond then was set at $15,000 in the case against Priest when he yelled obscenities at two people on Aug. 25.
Those bonds are extraordinarily high for cases involving misdemeanors, yet Adrian will be asked to consider increasing those bonds on Monday.
“If there are allegations, we are charging him,” Farha said Friday afternoon. “He’s so out there, and until he takes it seriously, we’re going to keep doing this.”
A mental health evaluation previously was ordered for Priest. Farha says he has not yet seen the results if it has been completed.
Farha says other felony charges could be coming.
“Some of the things that he’s done in terms of his wardrobe is that he has exposed himself to other people,” he said. “We’re still looking into whether there’s a purpose or if we can infer a purpose and what he’s doing with that. There are felony charges if he’s doing it for the sexual gratification of himself.”
Charges filed in Adams County against Priest this year are:
- March 2: Charged with operating an uninsured motor vehicle and failure to possess a valid driver’s license at 28th and Chestnut.
- May 27: Charged with disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor. Was standing naked on the porch of a residence at 2309 State and yelling at passing traffic.
- May 27: Charged with trespassing at Blessing Hospital.
- June 1: Charged with one count of reckless conduct, a Class A misdemeanor, and two counts of disorderly conduct, both Class C misdemeanors. Entered the 2300 block of State Street and impeded traffic, causing vehicles to swerve to miss him and drive into oncoming lane of traffic. Also was standing in street obstructing traffic and entered street in front of vehicles while not being in a crosswalk. While Priest was in the street, he put his hands down his underwear and manipulated his genitals.
- June 2: Charged with criminal damage to government property, a Class 3 felony. Damaged a phone kiosk in a holding cell in the Adams County Jail.
- June 2: Emergency stalking no contact order filed by Gina Veneris; summons served same day. (Order later dismissed on June 22).
- July 27: Charged with making an improper left turn on a bicycle at the intersection of 12th and York.
- Aug. 8: Emergency stalking no contact order filed by Ryan Schnack on behalf of Mike Troup; summons issued on Aug. 10.
- Aug. 11: Charged with two counts of disorderly conduct, both Class C misdemeanors. Should the word “f**k” repeatedly at one person and knowingly exposed his genitals to another person.
- Aug. 11: Charged with disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor. Yelled obscenities and vulgarities at two people in front of the Adams County Courthouse.
- Aug. 13: Charged with failing to have a lamp on a bicycle at nighttime at the intersection of Fifth and Hampshire.
- Aug. 24: Charged with disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor. Yelled “Brownies, they are coming for you next” at two African American minors.
- Aug. 25: Charged with disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor. Stood in front of the south entrance of the Adams County Courthouse and yelled vulgarities and obscenities at a woman.
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