Yohn opts not to defend himself in two other felony cases; claims jail video shows him ‘being assaulted by an officer’

Bradley Yohn mugshot

Bradley Yohn | Photo courtesy of Adams County Jail

QUINCY — A Springfield man defending himself in a November 2021 sexual assault case said last month he wanted to defend himself in two other felony cases, then told Judge Robert Adrian on Tuesday morning he was withdrawing his request.

Bradley Yohn, 35, also said during his appearance in Adams County Circuit Court he’s waiting for a copy of a video from the Adams County Jail. He claims the video shows him “being assaulted by an officer.”

Yohn appeared before Adrian 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 allege Yohn possessed electronic contraband in the form of thumb drives in the Adams County Jail. He also allegedly communicated false information to Karen Blackledge with the intent of preventing her from testifying “freely, fully and truthfully.”

When Yohn last appeared in court Dec. 13 on these two cases, he was frustrated with public defender Todd Nelson. He asked Judge Tad Brenner to continue the cases and strike them from the January docket because of issues obtaining a video from the Adams County Jail. Yohn objected, saying he didn’t want to delay the trial. 

“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,” Yohn said at the time.

However, when that subject was brought up at the beginning of Tuesday’s hearing, Yohn changed his tune slightly.

“It’s not necessarily that I’d like to go pro se,” he said. “I’ve asked for Mr. Nelson to do certain things. One of them is to not continue on my behalf under no circumstances unless we arrive to a point where we absolutely need a continuance. As of right now, we’re still approximately in the middle of 120-day period. I saw no reason to need to continue on my behalf last time. 

“We’re only seeking a video from inside this building, specifically from the Adams County Jail. As we all know, my caseload is pretty heavy at the current time. I’m not apt to want to take on extra cases. It is my wish that Mr. Nelson not continue on my behalf unless we absolutely need to. I believe it’s uncalled for to get a continuance when we’re simply waiting for a video from the same building — a video that could be given up in approximately 30 minutes. 

“At this current time, I wish to remain with Todd Nelson. I’d just like for him to take my rights into consideration.”

Adrian asked Yohn, “You do not wish to represent yourself at this time. Is that what I understood I heard you say?”

“Yes, sir, along with the fact that I would appreciate if the courts and my attorney would take my rights into consideration,” Yohn replied.

Adrian then withdrew Yohn’s motion to go pro se. He then put the two cases on the March 13 jury docket in front of Judge Michael Atterberry. Yohn’s next appearance in court on the two cases is Feb. 7, and Adrian said all discovery should be completed by that time.

“I appreciate your consideration,” Yohn said politely. “The discovery we’re waiting on is a video from the Adams County Jail (with) me, the defendant, being assaulted by an officer. It is a video that simply (is) right here in the same building. I would request that the courts possibly put in an order for the county to disclose that video.”

Adrian said a standing administrative order requiring assistant state’s attorney Josh Jones to disclose discovery “as soon as they have it available”

“Since there hasn’t been a discovery deadline yet, they will have to disclose that pretty quickly. You’re now set for trial,” Adrian said. “That’s why I set it for trial. There’s no separate order needed. The people already have been ordered to do that.”

“I appreciate it, your honor. Thank you,” Yohn said.

Jones said he previously spoke with jail administrators about the video. 

“I don’t know if it’s a dispute or what language we want to use, but there are still issues with that,” he told Adrian. “We’ve turned over everything that’s in my possession.”

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 held on a $15 million bond, believed to be the largest ever in Adams County.

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