Quincy Woman Recants Ineffective Counsel Claims; Plans to Appeal Plea Anyway

By Benjamin Cox on August 23, 2022 at 1:30pm

A Quincy woman who pleaded guilty in April in Adams County Court to one count of home invasion and one count of aggravated sexual assault is sending mixed signals to the court.

Muddy River News reports that 33 year old Karen Blackledge sent a letter to the Adams County Circuit Clerk on July 27, saying her legal representation was “less than efficient and effective” that led to her plea resulting in two back-to-back 20 year sentences in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Blackledge acknowledged in court in April that she illegally entered a home on Quincy’s North Bottom Road on November 9th of last year and while in the home used a weapon to stab Christine “Tina” Schmitt, who died from complications from the wounds she received in the incident on December 12th.

Adams County Judge Amy Lannerd asked Blackledge on Friday about the counsel provided by public defender Babs Brennan was less than efficient in her case. Blackledge told her it was not in court.

Brennan also filed a motion on July 27 to vacate the court’s sentence on May 5 and allow Blackledge to withdraw her guilty plea because she didn’t believe her client understood fully the questions that she had previously been asked about the case

After asking Blackledge five separate times if she believed Brennan was ineffective or if she needed more time to review evidence in the case to which Blackledge denied, Lannerd declined to allow Blackledge to withdraw her guilty plea, a decision that Blackledge says she is going to appeal.

Blackledge’s and Bradley S. Yohn were arrested by U.S. Marshals in Springfield on November 10th of last year in connection to the November 9th assault and alleged carjacking and kidnapping of Schmitt. Yohn remains lodged in the Adams County Jail. He has a status hearing scheduled for Oct. 12, and his jury trial is set to start Nov. 7.