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Father of the suspect on the Highland Park Parade shooting files a not guilty plea to charges relating to his son’s firearms.

What are the chances the parents of the Highland Park shooter will face prosecution?
A visitor prays at a memorial to the seven people killed and others injured in Monday's Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. (Photo by Nam Y. Huh/AP)

Chicago IL: In response to allegations that he assisted his son in getting a gun license three years prior to the incident, the father of a man accused of killing and shooting seven people at a Fourth of July parade in a suburban Chicago neighborhood filed a not-guilty plea on Thursday.

A day after a grand jury indicted Robert Crimo Jr., 58, on seven charges of reckless conduct—one count for each person killed—he entered a not-guilty plea in a county courtroom in Waukegan, north of Highland Park, the scene of the massacre last year.

Father of Illinois July 4 parade shooting suspect indicted by grand jury

Robert Crimo Jr., 58, will be arraigned Thursday after a grand jury formally indicted him Wednesday with seven counts of reckless conduct in connection with the Highland Park tragedy. Robert Crimo Jr. waits for court to begin at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan, Ill., on Jan. 26, 2023. Nam Y. Huh / AP file

 

There is a potential 3-year prison sentence for each offense.

At his brief hearing, Crimo, who has been free since posting a $50,000 bond in December, sat at a defense table tie-less in a gray suit, occasionally nodding while Judge George Strickland talked and read the indictment, which lists each person who was killed. Judge George Strickland of Lake County set the next court date for April 4 after noting extensive discoveries.

Pay attention to the Highland Park warning signs and communications failures and learn from them

Accused Highland Park gunman Robert E. Crimo III, 21, seen in first booking photo. Crimo allegedly made threats during a 2019 incident at his home in which a knife collection was temporarily seized by police. (Lake County Major Crime Task Force )

Although Robert Crimo III, then 19 years old, had made threats of violence, according to the prosecution, the father assisted his son in getting a weapons license years before the massacre.

The father is charged with criminally reckless conduct for allegedly signing Crimo III’s FOID application while being aware that his son had stated “violent ideas,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Robert Crimo Jr., a well-known Highland Park resident who had previously run for mayor and owned convenience stores, was detained in December and charged with seven felonies for reckless conduct, one for each fatality.

Highland Park 4th of July parade shooting suspect's father pleads not guilty to charges over son's gun license

Denise Pesina and Robert Crimo Jr., the parents of accused Highland Park shooter Robert E. Crimo III, attended their son’s August arraignment. The father was arrested and charged in December. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

 

The state’s attorney for Lake County, Eric Rinehart, said in a brief statement issued on Wednesday that the grand jury decided the father’s case should proceed.

Parents who give their children access to weapons of war are ethically and legally liable if those children use such weapons to harm others, according to Rinehart.

The father’s lawyer in the Chicago region, George M. Gomez, has previously referred to the claims as “baseless and unprecedented.”

Grand jury indicts father of July 4 parade shooting suspect

CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois grand jury on Wednesday formally indicted the father of a man charged with fatally shooting seven people at a Fourth of July parade in suburban Chicago, the Lake County State’s Attorney Office said. (Photo by the Canadian Press)

 

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According to Rinehart, the charges against the father are a result of his supporting his son’s application for a weapons license in December of last year. Police claim Robert Crimo III made a machete suicide attempt in April 2019 and was accused of threatening to “murder everyone” by a family member in September 2019.

After the father’s arrest in December, Rinehart declared that “parents and guardians are in the best position to decide whether their teenagers should have a weapon.” When Robert Crimo Jr. sponsored his son, the system “failed in this case” because he signed the form while knowing what was on it.

The son’s application for a gun license was assessed by Illinois State Police, who, according to the reports, found no grounds to reject it because he had no arrests, no criminal history, no major mental health issues, no orders of protection, and no other actions that would disqualify him.

Grand Jury Indicts Father of July 4 Highland Park Shooting Suspect

An Illinois grand jury on Wednesday formally indicted the father of a man charged with fatally shooting seven people at a Fourth of July parade in suburban Chicago, the Lake County State’s Attorney Office said. A memorial to the victims of the July 4, 2022, shooting in Highland Park. (WTTW News)

Law experts have noted that charges against a shooter’s parent or guardian are uncommon, in part because it might be challenging to establish such accusations.

With one notable exception, a prosecutor in Michigan charged the parents of a youngster accused of killing and shooting four students at his Oxford High School with involuntary manslaughter in 2021. While the state appeals court evaluates an appeal, James and Jennifer Crumbley’s trial, who are the parents of 16-year-old alleged shooter Ethan Crumbley, was postponed.

Robert Crimo III was charged by a grand jury in July with 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder, and 48 counts of aggravated violence in connection with the attack that left seven people dead and numerous more injured at the Highland Park holiday parade. At the Lake County Jail, the 22-year-old is still detained.

Robert Crimo Jr. has attended a number of his son’s pretrial hearings, meeting his son as he entered the courtroom chained up and surrounded by security.

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