Busy Week For Yohn in Adams County Court Ends in One Conviction

By Benjamin Cox on April 16, 2023 at 9:48am

The first of two jury trials in cases against a Springfield man accused of multiple felonies in Adams County began on Monday and ended just as quickly as it began.

36-year old Bradley Yohn, defending himself on 3 counts of possession of contraband in a penal institution and communicating with a witness in an outstanding case, was convicted by a jury in less than 16 minutes on Tuesday on a single count of contraband possession.

Yohn has been imprisoned on the highest bond ever imposed on a person in the Adams County Jail since November 2021 after being arrested by U.S. Marshals in a home in Springfield for an alleged carjacking, sexual assault, and home invasion along North Bottom Road in Quincy in October 2021.

Yohn was indicted by a grand jury on December 8th on the 3 counts of contraband and the witness tampering. However, before Monday’s trial began, according to Muddy River News, Yohn was informed that 2 of the contraband charges and the witness tampering charge were dropped. A separate case of threatening a public official was also dropped.

Jury selection and opening statements by Yohn in his defense along with chief prosecutor Josh Jones were made Monday morning. According to Muddy River News on Monday, three witnesses were called by Jones before the state rested its case in chief. Yohn called one of the state’s witnesses back to the stand on Monday afternoon before Chief Judge of the 8th Judicial Circuit J. Frank McCartney put an end to the day. Prior to leaving the courtroom on Monday, Yohn indicated he would put himself on the stand in his own defense.

According to the state’s case in chief, Yohn hid 2 thumb drives pertaining to his sexual assault, cajracking, and home invasion case in his cell while a third thumb drive was found in another inmate’s cell. According to testimony heard by three corrections officers from the Adams County Jail, thumb drives are considered contraband because they can be broken apart and used as weapons and inmates have no way to access information on the thumb drives in their jail cells. Inmates are allowed to have paper documents pertaining to their cases in their jail cells. The other testimony heard by the officers was that Yohn was trying to speak to co-defendant in the carjacking case Karen Blackledge. Blackledge pleaded guilty to a count each of home invasion and aggravated criminal sexual assault in April of last year and was ultimately sentenced to two consecutive 20-year sentences in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Blackledge attempted to recant the plea saying she received less than efficient defense counsel in August but was denied.

Yohn contended that he was keeping the thumb drives because he believed that Adams County Jail employees were deleting or tampering with items from them in an attempt to hinder his defense in his other cases. Yohn asked for the contraband charges to be dismissed based upon his civil rights being violated. Judge McCartney denied the dismissal. Yohn has contended in both of his cases in court that he is unable to receive a fair trial. Judge McCartney, on Monday, instructed Yohn to bring up any claims of procedural misconduct to Judge Roger Thomson on Wednesday for his other case.

On Tuesday, after just 16 minutes, Yohn was convicted by a jury of the single count of contraband possession. Yohn recanted his wish to testify on Tuesday before resting his case. The day did not conclude without some fireworks. Muddy River News reported on Tuesday that during closing arguments, Yohn and Chief Prosecutor Jones had a pair of fiery exchanges over objections before the case was eventually handed to the jury.

Yohn faces between 4-15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections on the contraband charge. Judge McCartney will render a sentence on the case on June 7th.

Yohn returned to court on Wednesday for a hearing on several motions in his sexual assault and carjacking case. One of the motions was to drop Public Defender Todd Nelson as standby counsel. Muddy River News reported that Yohn ultimately dismissed the motion, deciding to keep Nelson. Yohn has said that he has had a hard time speaking with and contacting Nelson directly to speak on his case. Judge Roger Thomson told Yohn to use the postal mail if he was having difficulty reaching him by phone or other means.

According to Muddy River News on Wednesday, near the end of the hearing, Thomson addressed Yohn’s motion to continue the trial. Yohn said he’s waiting on DNA evidence and again complained about a lack of assistance from corrections officers at the Adams County Jail. Yohn has asked for both a change of venue and a change in location of his incarceration multiple times.

Yohn is said to have asked for a 30-day continuance to wait on and receive discovery in his case. Judge Thomson pushed the start of the trial back further to allow Yohn to receive any documents and to file any further motions before a May 15th cutoff date.

Yohn’s trial date has now been pushed to July 10th with another date to hear motions set for Wednesday, April 26th.