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Blackledge pleads not guilty in carjacking, sexual assault case

WGEM News at Five
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 2:55 PM CST
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QUINCY (WGEM) - The second person charged in a November carjacking, burglary and sexual assault in Adams County pleaded not guilty to the six charges read Wednesday by Judge Robert Adrian.

Karen Blackledge, 32, entered the plea through her attorney, Assistant Public Defender Christopher Pratt.

Blackledge is accused of taking part in a Nov. 9 incident. She and Bradley S. Yohn allegedly kidnapped a 70-year-old woman, drove to her home, sexually assaulted her, robbed the home and then stole the woman’s car. They were arrested the next day in Springfield by U.S. Marshals.

Blackledge sobbed through the hearing as she told Adrian she understood the charges and their potential punishments.

She has been charged with two counts of home invasion, one count of aggravated kidnapping, one count of aggravated vehicular hijacking, one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault, all Class X felonies, and residential burglary, a Class 1 felony. However, because of previous convictions, a conviction on the burglary count would qualify for Class X sentencing.

Convictions for the home invasion, kidnapping and vehicular hijacking charges all could carry prison sentences of between six and 30 years, fines ranging from $75 to $25,0000 and mandatory supervised release. According to Illinois’ truth in sentencing, Blackledge would have to serve 50% of these sentences if she is found guilty.

A conviction on the criminal sexual assault charge would carry a sentence of between 16 and 40 years, a fine ranging from $75 to $25,000 and mandatory supervised release. If convicted, Blackledge would have to serve 85% of the sentence for this charge.

Because of previous convictions, a residential burglary conviction also would carry a potential sentence of between six and 30 year, fines ranging from $75 to $25,0000 and mandatory supervised release.

Adrian also told Blackledge that because the two counts of home invasion were “separate and distinct” from the remaining counts, a conviction on either or both of those counts, as well as a conviction on any of the remaining counts, could qualify for consecutive sentences.

The case was set for the January jury trial docket on Jan. 10. A pretrial hearing is set for Jan. 3, and a status hearing is set for Dec. 15.

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