Yohn decides he wants to defend himself in two other felony cases

Yohn and Lightfoot

Bradley Yohn speaks in an Adams County Courtroom. | File photo by David Adam

QUINCY — A Springfield man who is defending himself in a November 2021 sexual assault case decided Tuesday morning he now wants to defend himself in two other felony cases.

Bradley Yohn, 35, appeared in Adams County Circuit Court before Judge Tad Brenner for a status hearing in two cases. He was charged Oct. 15 with allegedly threatening to kill a correctional officer, a Class 3 felony, in the Adams County Jail. An Adams County grand jury indicted Yohn on Oct. 27. He pled not guilty on Nov. 1 to that charge. 

Yohn was charged Nov. 15 with three counts of possessing contraband in a penal institution, a Class 1 felony, and communicating with a witness, a Class 3 felony. Charging documents filed in Adams County show Yohn possessed electronic contraband in the form of thumb drives in the Adams County Jail. He also communicated false information to Karen Blackledge with the intent of preventing her from testifying “freely, fully and truthfully.”

He was represented Tuesday morning by public defender Todd Nelson, who was appointed Sept. 22 by Judge Roger Thomson to serve as standby counsel for Yohn. He is defending himself pro se in the sexual assault case.

Tuesday’s hearing started with an inquiry by Nelson, who filed a Nov. 21 motion for video from the Adams County Jail.

“I have received some video that we were requesting. I’m told there is another video that will not be coming,” he said. “I want to inquire a little bit more into that. I also need to discuss issues with my client with respect to that.”

Nelson then asked Brenner to strike case from the Jan. 9 jury docket. Yohn then spoke up.

“I’m objecting to any continuance, your honor,” he said. “If this is the case, I’ll go pro se on these two charges, too. I demand my constitutional right to a 120-day speedy trial. I will further demand that, through way of my own attorney, we have enough time between now and the end of the 120 days to accumulate these videos or any portions of the evidence needed.”

Brenner then asked Josh Jones, assistant state’s attorney for Adams County, what he had to say. Jones replied that he had passed along to Nelson the video evidence he had received.

Brenner asked if the case had any speedy trial issues. Jones said the discovery issues brought up by Nelson would make any delay attributable to the defense, “but we have no objection to that,” he said. 

Brenner, Nelson and Jones agreed to schedule Yohn’s arraignment on the charges of possessing contraband in a penal institution for Jan. 3. They also appeared to have settled on Jan. 3 for a hearing on the status of the video request made by Nelson when Yohn spoke up again.

“Your honor, once again, I object,” he said. “I don’t believe there’s a need for a continuance.  We’re still within enough time allotted for a 120-day speedy trial to obtain that. I don’t think we need to continue to this trial and delay it.

“I would like to put in an oral motion on the record to go pro se in these two cases since the attorneys cannot comply with the defendant’s wishes.”

An order was eventually filed indicating Yohn’s wishes to go pro se in the two cases. The case was removed from the January docket, and a status hearing was set for Jan. 30. Yohn’s oral motion to defend himself pro se will be addressed at that hearing.

Yohn faces between two to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections if he is found guilty of threatening to kill a correctional officer. He faces between four and 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections if he is found guilty of possessing electronic contraband.

Yohn also is defending himself against charges of home invasion, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated vehicular hijacking and aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon. He allegedly committed the crimes on Nov. 9, 2021, at Christine “Tina” Schmitt’s home. Yohn could be sentenced to serve between six and 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections if he’s found guilty of any Class X felony.

Yohn is scheduled to be in court again Wednesday afternoon before Thomson for a motion hearing on that case. He has filed at least 12 motions since Oct. 30. When Yohn last appeared before Thomson on Nov. 30, the hearing ended with Yohn being escorted from the courtroom yelling obscenities at Thomson, calling him a “piece of s**t.”

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