Yohn says during motion hearing he plans to ask for change of venue ‘to an unprejudiced county’
QUINCY — While presenting 20 motions Wednesday during a nearly three-hour hearing in Adams County Circuit Court, a Springfield man defending himself in a November 2021 sexual assault case said he plans to move for a change of venue.
While discussing a request for funds to pay for a polling service, Bradley Yohn, 35, told Judge Roger Thomson he was in the process of filing a motion for the case to be moved “to an unprejudiced county.”
“It’s self-explanatory, your honor,” Yohn said. “I believe over 25 or 30 times I’ve been on WGEM (TV) and Muddy River (News) … probably over that amount, not counting other media companies. I would prefer to go for the funding to take a poll, since everybody knows (the case is) quite prominent around here as far as the media with this case, but I guess I will do whatever the court pleases.
“Either way, I will be filing a change of venue.”
Thomson denied the motion to pay for the polling service, to which Yohn muttered, “I’m not going to get out of this county, am I?”
The judge said Yohn can ask potential jurors during jury selection if they’ve seen any news stories.
“You can inquire as to whether they can set any of those observations and knowledge aside and base their decision solely on the evidence in the courtroom,” Thomson said.
“I don’t think a soul in Adams County can say they’re not prejudiced,” Yohn said.
“I would disagree,” Thomson replied. “I could probably find a few people out on the street right now who have never heard your name.”
That motion was one of nine denied by Thomson. Many of the denied motions were requests for suppression of evidence and testimony.
Thomson granted six motions. They were requests for:
- The medical records of Schmitt for the past five years, including information about a trip she made to Quincy Medical Group on Nov. 7. Thomson ruled Yohn could have information about the QMG trip.
- Funding to conduct an independent analysis of DNA and fingerprints, which Thomson revised. Instead, he allowed up to $3,000 to be spent to do a review of the case’s DNA evidence and $1,000 for a review of the case’s fingerprint evidence.
- Exclude testimony of Dr. Aga Kagumba with Quincy Medical Group. Kagumba interviewed the alleged victim, Christine “Tina” Schmitt, when she sought medical treatment for injuries. Thomson revised the motion and allowed Yohn to have a three-page document with redacted statements from Kagumba.
- Access to a cell phone. (Yohn made two motions to inspect two cellphones.) Thomson said each phone will be made accessible to Yohn in the presence of law enforcement or an assistant state’s attorney.
- Photos of Schmitt. Thomson said the photos will be made accessible to Yohn in the presence of law enforcement or an assistant state’s attorney. Before the ruling, Yohn explained he needed to review the photos to help form his defense. “I’m not here to observe a person’s private area,” he said. “I’m not a weirdo. I’m not a creep.”
Thomson did not rule on four motions. Three were motions for discovery of information that Josh Jones, assistant state’s attorney, said already had been turned over or didn’t exist. Thomson didn’t rule on a motion to suppress testimony from eight law enforcement officers, saying he couldn’t rule without more information about the testimony.
Thomson ruled he will address a motion to dismiss and a motion to suppress from June before the next motion hearing on Feb. 1.
Yohn came close to walking out of the hearing. He had made a motion for the independent analysis of DNA and fingerprint analysis that Thomson denied, to which Yohn replied, “I don’t understand.”
Thomson said his ruling wouldn’t change. When he tried to address another motion, Yohn said, “I’m ready to go back to the cell. We can debate these motions some other time.”
“Mr. Yohn, today is the motion hearing,” Thomson said. “If you wish to participate, you can participate. If you wish not to participate and have the state address these motions, that is your right and your choice.”
“Your honor, that’s prejudicial,” Yohn said.
“I’m not going to argue with you over this,” Thomson replied.
Yohn eventually relented and stayed.
Thomson also issued warnings to Yohn and Jones, asking them to address comments to the court after a brief exchange between the two. Thomson later asked Yohn to stop making “extracurricular comments.”
“You’ll get them if I put them forth,” Yohn said.
Thomson warned Yohn to conduct himself as a licensed attorney and maintain proper decorum, saying he would remove Yohn from the courtroom and lose his right to represent himself.
After the conclusion of the hearing and most of the courtroom had cleared, two bailiffs accompanied Yohn as he waited for a copy of a document. He then addressed assistant state’s attorney Laura Keck.
“Miss Keck, you know this case is bogus,” Yohn said. “I’m a really nice guy.”
“We’ll have to agree to disagree,” Keck replied.
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