Quincy man facing attempted murder charge files motion claiming he was defending himself

Jeremy Coleman hearing

Chief Public Defender Christopher Pratt, left, and Jeremy Coleman during a status hearing on Tuesday morning in Adams County Circuit Court. | David Adam

QUINCY — A Quincy man facing six felony charges, including attempted murder, has filed an amended motion saying he was defending himself in a December 2023 stabbing incident and wants his case dismissed. However, his attorney says he’s unlikely to adopt the motion as part of his defense. 

Jeremy J. Coleman, 29, appeared with Chief Public Defender Christopher Pratt before Judge Tad Brenner for a status hearing in Adams County Circuit Court. 

Coleman has been charged with: 

  • Two counts of attempted murder, a Class 1 felony punishable for between four and 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections if found guilty.
  • One count of aggravated domestic battery, a Class 2 felony punishable for between three and seven years in prison.
  • One count of aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony punishable for between two and five years in prison.
  • Two counts of armed violence, a Class X felony punishable for between 10 and 30 years in prison.

Coleman would be eligible for 50 percent sentencing under Illinois’ truth in sentencing law on the first four counts. He would be eligible for 85 percent sentencing on the two counts of armed violence.

Coleman filed a pro se motion that was filed with the Adams County Circuit Clerk’s office on March 1. In the motion, Coleman claims he was protecting himself from an attack. He referred to a 1992 Illinois case, People v. Allen, in which the defendant tried to protect himself from an attack with a kitchen knife by his father.

Brenner asked Pratt about the pro se motion and if he planned to take any action.

“I plan to discuss that with Mr. Coleman,” Pratt replied. “Certainly with the viability of affirmative defense here versus how he is addressed in the motion, I think it’s unlikely that I adopt that motion. However, I have to speak with Mr. Coleman before we proceed with striking that motion.”

The case remains on the April docket. Both Pratt and Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Jones told Brenner they believed a trial would take between two and three days. A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for March 22. 

“Discussions are ongoing regarding negotiations and other matters,” Pratt said.

Officers responded just before 11 a.m. on Dec. 7 to the 600 block of Van Buren for a disturbance. When officers arrived, they found two victims on the roof of a building, both suffering from stab wounds. Charging documents filed in Adams County Circuit Court show the victims were Sajuada Bonner and Julian Harper.

“(In the) use of force in defense of a person, a person is justified in the use of force,” Coleman wrote. “I was speaking with Sajuada’s brother, Julian, asking him to take his company home because she was underage. … They were both intoxicated around my children (on) Dec. 6, 2023, the night before this transgression happened. The witness left the next morning. I was going to proceed to Sajuada when she arrived home from work.”

Coleman wrote that he arrived at the home on Van Buren at approximately 7:30 a.m. Dec. 7 to look for his work clothes. He said Bonner told him she would leave them on the porch, but he couldn’t find them when he arrived. He said he waited for 45 minutes, smoking tobacco and listening to music.

“I noticed the door was open,” he wrote. “I walked inside. I walked past the living room and through the kitchen to the laundry room. There I (saw) four baskets of clothes. I started looking for my uniform for work.”

Coleman said that he walked through the kitchen to the living room and up the stairway at approximately 9:30 a.m.

“I noticed (Bonner’s) brother was walking toward the kitchen as I walked up the steps,” he wrote. “As I walked up the steps, Sajuada’s back was turned as I approached the top of the steps. She turned around and screamed. Her brother then came running up the stairs with a blade three inches or longer, and we began to wrestle for the knife.”

Coleman claimed Harper overwhelmed him and stabbed his left index finger, nearly cutting it off, and his left pinky finger. He then said he continued wrestling with Harper and eventually controlled the knife, wounding Harper’s left torso.

“Sajuada was helping her brother and grabbed (me) from behind,” Coleman wrote. “(She) then took the knife from Julian’s shoulder. (Harper) spun the blade in the palm of his hand, aiming the sharp part toward himself and stabbed Sajuada in the left shin through the calf muscle.”

Officers rendered medical aid to the victims, applying tourniquets to control the bleeding until the Quincy Fire Department and Adams County EMS arrived. Both victims were transported to Blessing Hospital.

Coleman turned himself into the Adams County Probation Department on the morning of Dec. 8. He pled not guilty during his arraignment on Dec. 20. He remains lodged in the Adams County Jail.

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