Carjacking, sexual assault trial pushed back to review DNA evidence
QUINCY (WGEM) - The trial for Bradley S. Yohn, accused of carjacking and sexually assaulting a 70-year-old Adams County woman, has been pushed back following a request from his attorney, Assistant Public Defender John Citro, to allow for a review of DNA evidence.
The motion to continue the case from the May 9 jury docket was approved Friday by Judge Michael J. Atterberry in Adams County Court. That came at the end of a tense hearing that started with Yohn making allegations of ineffective counsel and ended with him getting up and walking out of the courtroom.
Atterberry opened the hearing by asking Yohn about three letters previously sent to the court. Judge Amy Lannerd had struck the letters from the record earlier this month. Atterberry told the court he had reviewed the letters. He said they seemed “very close to a motion by you to substitute your counsel.”
Yohn told Atterberry that he would like a new attorney, and the judge told him a different attorney would take time to become familiar with the facts in the case.
“It’s very probable that may result in a delay of your trial,” Atterberry said.
Yohn said he did not want any more delays in the trial and said he was withdrawing his request for a new attorney.
“Do I have the right to a 120-day speedy trial under the Constitution,” he asked Atterberry. The judge told him he did, but that a request to remove his lawyer would trigger an exception to his right to a speedy trial. Atterberry also cautioned Yohn against discussing facts of the case or trial strategy in open court, telling Yohn he was trying to protect him.
“I have nothing to state that would hold me guilty,” Yohn said.
Atterberry then took up the matter of the continuance motion Citro had filed to allow for an expert review of DNA evidence. Yohn said he objected to any delay and that he was unclear about any evidence the state had.
When Atterberry asked Citro if he wanted a chance to explain the motion with Yohn, Citro said he had explained it the day before in a visit with Yohn at the Adams County jail. Atterberry insisted that Citro and Yohn speak about the case.
“Mr. Yohn’s correspondence suggests the attorney-client relationship has broken down,” he said, ordering a 10-minute recess. “The two of you need to cooperate.’
Yohn and Citro then left the courtroom to discuss the matter.
When the hearing resumed, Atterberry said Citro’s motion to continue the case pertained to “certain DNA evidence” and that Citro was seeking an expert to consult on the case and could seek county money to pay for the review. Atterberry asked Yohn if a conversation with Citro about the motion had happened.
“It has, without a major detail I want known,” Yohn said.
Atterberry again advised him about his right to remain silent, but Yohn continued.
“There either is DNA or there isn’t,” Yohn said. “This man has never told me.”
Atterberry then gave Yohn and Citro a few more moments to confer off the record.
After that conversation, Atterberry asked Assistant State’s Attorney Joshua Jones whether the state objected to the delay.
Jones acknowledged the complexities of DNA evidence.
“It is not easy to comprehend in a legal way,” he said, noting that the state did not object to the continuance.
“I want to make sure Mr. Yohn has a sound defense and a fair trial,” Jones said.
Yohn again stated his objection to any delay in the trial, claiming he had asked for a change of venue because of the extensive media coverage the case has received.
However, Atterberry said he was granting the motion.
“As a trial judge, I would be negligent if I allowed you to go to trial when your attorney says he is not ready,” the judge said.
“Once again, your honor, I object,” Yohn said.
Atterberry struck a court date set for May 9 and set a status hearing to discuss the status of the case, including the status of the defense’s DNA review, for May 10.
Again, Yohn spoke up.
“Why are my rights constantly being violated in this county,” he asked, questioning why his conversation with Citro during the first break had to happen in front of two sheriff’s department employees.
When Atterberry tried to caution Yohn once again about any outbursts in court, Yohn stood up and started to walk out of the courtroom.
“I’m done your honor, have a nice day,” he said before sheriff’s department bailiffs quickly took him under their control and walked him out of the courtroom.
Atterberry then noted Yohn’s exit from the courtroom without objection from either Jones or Citro.
Citro was appointed by the court to represent Yohn, who faces 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. Those charges are in connection with a Nov. 9 incident that allegedly began along the North Bottom Road.
He also faces felony charges in two other cases. He was charged with vehicular hijacking stemming from an Oct. 31 incident.
He faces charges of residential burglary, a Class 1 felony; two counts of theft or unauthorized control of property over $500 but under $10,000, Class 3 felonies; and criminal sexual abuse, a Class 4 felony. Those charges stem from an Oct. 14 incident.
Yohn is being held on a $15 million bond, which is believed to be the largest bond amount ever set in Adams County.
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