Zion man a no-show as jury finds him guilty on drug, weapons charges

The defendant in 2021's first felony jury trial at the Lake County courthouse decided not to stick around to see how jurors ruled.

A no bond arrest warrant has been issued for Brian A. Yarbor after the 37-year-old Zion man failed to appear for the second and final day of his trial Tuesday.

In his absence, the jury found him guilty on drugs and weapons charges.

Yarbor is facing up to 30 years in prison stemming from one count of the manufacture and delivery of cocaine, a class one felony. The jury also found him guilty of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

He appeared in court Monday, along with a socially distanced jury, attorneys, judge and other court staff, but did not return Tuesday. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 26.

Yarbor was charged in September 2019 after police said he was in possession of 9 grams of crack cocaine and had a loaded handgun in his apartment.

After he was charged, he posted $15,000 to be released from jail on bond.

Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said Friday that it was very unusual for a defendant to fail to appear for a trial. Rinehart said under the new criminal justice changes, Yarbor may not have had the opportunity to remain free before his trial.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a criminal justice omnibus bill last week that abolished cash bail, among numerous other provisions.

"Under the new reforms there's a different analysis whether someone would be a threat to the community," Rinehart said. "And this is a gun and drugs case."

Starting in 2023, all bail bonds and conditions of bail will be replaced by a system of pretrial release to be developed by the Illinois courts based on detainees' alleged crimes, their risk of not appearing in court and the threat or danger they may pose to an individual or community if released. The law places the burden on the state to prove an individual should be detained, rather than the individual proving that they should go free.

Rinehart said he was proud of the work prosecutors and their partners in law enforcement did on the case.

"I'm proud we were able to get to a verdict even in COVID-19 conditions," Rinehart said.

Jury trials were suspended in November because of a spike in COVID-19 cases. They resumed March 1.

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