Illinois’ WAUKEGAN — A week after prosecutors said he faces 117 felony charges in the incident, the man accused of shooting at an Independence Day celebration in suburban Chicago that left seven people dead and dozens more injured entered a not-guilty plea on Wednesday.
In a quick hearing on Wednesday, Robert E. Crimo III entered a formal plea to the charges of 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder, and 48 counts of aggravated violence in honor of those who perished and were injured during the Highland Park march.
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Throughout the 10-minute arraignment, Crimo, who was wearing a COVID-19 face mask, repeatedly assured the judge, Victoria Rossetti, that he understood the charges against him and the potential consequences, including life in prison. Many family members and friends of at least one victim turned to face Crimo as he shuffled into court, the chains around his ankles jangling. Some of them remained focused on him the whole hearing.
In July, Lake County prosecutors revealed that Crimo had been charged after a grand jury indicted him. The 21-year-old was initially charged with seven counts of murder in the days after the incident. The numerous first-degree murder allegations against Crimo allege that he meant to kill, killed seven individuals, inflicted serious bodily damage to them, or perform actions that had a good chance of doing so.
The county public defender’s office, which is representing Crimo, has stated that the office does not make any public comments regarding any cases. In court on Wednesday, a representative of the office entered Crimo’s not-guilty plea. Authorities said that after being detained by police after an hour-long search for the shooter who opened fire from a building’s rooftop along the parade route, Crimo confessed to the shooting.
According to the authorities, the injured people range in age from 8 to 80, including an 8-year-old boy whose spine was severed during the shooting and left him paralyzed from the waist down. Eric Rinehart, the state’s attorney for Lake County, said he would not comment on whether Crimo’s parents would also be charged in remarks made following the court. Crimo could potentially face more charges.
Many people in the neighborhood have questioned why Crimo’s parents appeared to foster his interest in firearms just a few months after he allegedly threatened to kill himself and others. According to Crimo’s parents, who are represented by George Gomez, they are not worried that they would face criminal charges, he said on Wednesday.
Both were present for the hearing on Wednesday, quietly sitting next to their kid. After the incident, Gomez spoke with the media and described his clients as “devastated” and “heartbroken” for Highland Park. He fell that they are collaborating with the police.
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