Yohn plans to put alleged accomplice and his father on witness stand during what could be unpredictable Monday

Karen Blackledge with Christopher Pratt

Karen Blackledge, right, listens to Public Defender Christopher Pratt before the start of her sentencing hearing in Adams County Circuit Court on May 5, 2022. Blackledge is expected to be called by Bradley Yohn on Monday to testify in his criminal sexual assault case. | Screenshot courtesy of pool video by WGEM

QUINCY — The criminal sexual assault trial of Bradley Yohn had strange twists and turns last week, but no one can predict what is coming Monday when Yohn continues his defense in Adams County Circuit Court. 

Monday will be the sixth day of Yohn’s trial before a 10-man, two-woman jury. Yohn, 36, is charged with home invasion with a dangerous weapon, home invasion predicated on criminal sexual assault, aggravated vehicular hijacking, aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon and residential burglary.

He allegedly committed the crimes on Nov. 9, 2021, at the home of Christine “Tina” Lohman Schmitt. She died 33 days later on Dec. 12, 2021.

Yohn is defending himself pro se with Public Defender Todd Nelson serving as standby counsel.

At the conclusion of Friday’s testimony, Yohn said he wanted to put Ilsa Terrell, a daughter of Lohman Schmitt, back on the stand Monday morning. Terrell was on the stand for more than 25 minutes on Friday.

Yohn then said he plans to put Karen Blackledge on the stand. Blackledge allegedly was Yohn’s accomplice on the night Lohman Schmitt was attacked. 

Blackledge pled guilty April 1, 2022, to one count of home invasion and one count of aggravated sexual assault, both Class X felonies. She received 40 years in prison with two 20-year terms served consecutively in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Blackledge acknowledged in court that she illegally entered the Schmitt home on Nov. 9, 2021. While in the home, she admitted to using a weapon to penetrate Lohman Schmitt. Blackledge and Yohn were arrested the next day in Springfield.

Yohn also asked on Friday to put his father, Bradley Yohn Sr., on the witness stand. 

“I think I’ll be pretty much finished at that time,” Yohn said.

Bradley Yohn reads a document on Friday during his criminal sexual assault trial in Adams County Circuit Court. | Pool photo by Randy Phillips/MRN

Bradley Yohn Sr., who turns 53 this week, is in the Adams County Jail serving a 180-day sentence on a meth charge.

Bradley Yohn Jr. claimed Wednesday afternoon that his father and his sister had tried to visit Yohn four times when he was first arrested. However, he said Public Defender John Citro (his first attorney) denied those meetings. Yohn said his father got so depressed “he went into a stupor.”

Yohn told Judge Roger Thomson his father can provide an alibi for his whereabouts on the night of Nov. 9, 2021. He asked for an order to allow him to interview his father as a potential witness so he can “handle his business and do what I need to do.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Jones said it was a little late for Yohn to provide an “alibi witness.” Thomson agreed, denying his request. 

However, both Yohn’s father and Blackledge are on the witness list.

When John Schone, an investigator for the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, was on the witness stand Wednesday, Yohn said after an objection he made that he would be testifying. However, he didn’t mention Friday the possibility of that happening.

During Yohn’s direct examination of Terrell on Friday, he asked if her mother had told her she had been hit by the man and the woman who attacked her. Terrell said she did. 

“Your Honor, I’d like to introduce the witness statement (by Terrell to law enforcement on Dec. 18, 2021),” Yohn said.

Jones objected, saying Yohn had not established a foundation.

“The witness clearly has given falsified information,” Yohn said.

Jones objected and Thomson sustained. But Yohn kept going.

“Your mother did tell you that these offenders hit her several times,” Yohn said.

“Objection. Asked and answered,” Jones said. Thomson sustained the objection.

“Did she relay to you how they hit her or what they did to her?” Yohn asked.

“Objection, your honor,” Jones said. “At this point, it’s hearsay.”

“Your honor, there’s been a lot of hearsay already admitted,” Yohn said.

Thomson again sustained the objection.

Yohn later asked Terrell if she remembered her mother “laughing and giggling” during an interview in Terrell’s hair salon conducted by Kelsey Miller, an investigator with the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, on Nov. 10, 2021. 

“(She laughed about) things that had to do with family, because that’s how she dealt with her trauma,” Terrell said. 

Yohn wrapped up his examination of Terrell by asking, “Do you believe your mother was telling the full truth?” 

“It’s my mother telling the full truth,” Terrell said.

Investigator Kelsey Miller with the Adams County Sheriff’s Department hands a document to Judge Roger Thomson. | Pool photo by Randy Phillips/MRN

During Friday afternoon’s direct examination of Miller, Yohn again tried to introduce the video interview of Lohman Schmitt.

“Did CL claim to be sexually assaulted by penis in her mouth while in a moving car at a high rate of speed?” Yohn asked.

Jones objected, saying the information was hearsay. Thomson sustained the objection.

“Your honor, I wish to admit the exhibit to show this is ridiculous,” Yohn said. “It’s where CL describes the car scene … and in vivid detail.”

Jones objected, and Thomson sent the jury out of the courtroom. Jones then explained his objection.

“Well, there’s two objections,” he said. “One, it’s a portion of the video. It’s not the complete video. But two, it’s hearsay. It’s an out-of-court statement the defendant is trying to introduce. The declarant in that video is not available for either side to call as a witness.”

When Thomson asked what evidence Yohn had that made the video an exception to the hearsay rule, Yohn replied, “Blatant lies.” 

“That’s not an exception,” Thomson said.

“Excited utterance,” Yohn said. “Spontaneous declaration.”

“I can’t find it as an excited utterance. What’s your grounds?” Thomson said.

“The grounds are this is a very serious crime, and I don’t believe woman could recover from a crime within 18 hours and be able to do what this person here is doing on this video,” Yohn said.

Thomson explained the hearsay rule was why he was sustaining the video. However, Yohn objected to the denial of the introduction of the video.

“We’d like to preserve it for a later time,” he said. “There are many case laws that say that videos and whatnot can be introduced at a later time, even though they’re testimonial, (and) they can be considered. … There is no time limit on an excited utterance.”

Yohn was organizing his paperwork and putting it into his discovery box at the end of Friday’s testimony when he asked a member of the news media, “Do you want a quote from me?”

The reply was, “Sure.”

“They sure do not want that video in, do they? As that video would lead to a not guilty verdict,” Yohn said.

Then, as bailiffs started to usher him back to the jail, Yohn said, “You have a good day. I appreciate you coming to cover this issue.”

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