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Bobby Crimo Pleads Not Guilty To 117 Counts In Highland Park Shooting

Patch logo Patch 8/3/2022 Jonah Meadows

WAUKEGAN, IL — The man charged with opening fire from a rooftop onto the Highland Park 4th of July parade, killing seven people and wounding nearly 50 others, entered a plea of not guilty Wednesday in Waukegan.

Robert "Bobby" Crimo III, 21, of Highwood, was indicted last week on 117 felony counts in connection with the massacre, the deadliest by a long gunman in the state's history.

The charges include three counts of murder for each of the victims and one count of attempted murder and aggravated battery for each of of the 48 people wounded by bullets or shrapnel.

Appearing before Lake County Circuit Judge Victoria Rossetti at his 10-minute arraignment, Crimo wore a face mask and told the judge he understood the charges and their potential sentences.

A conviction for murdering any two people brings an automatic life sentence, according to prosecutors, each of the other counts also brings a sentence of up to life in prison.

Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said it is common to charge multiple counts of first-degree murder for the killing of a single person.

"Basically, seven people lost their lives, there are three alternative ways that we see, in very many murder cases, there are three alternative ways to charge the offense of murder. That's why there are 21 counts. If you were to go to any murder prior to this proceeding you would see that very typically, there are three — sometimes there are three sometimes there are two — but most often there are three," Rinehart said.

"Generally speaking, the three types of murder are about what the person's mindset was," he told reporters after the arraignment. "Did they intend to cause death, did they knowingly cause death, did they intend to cause great bodily hard that eventually led to the death, did they knowingly cause great bodily harm that led to death, all of these can lead to murder."

Authorities said Crimo confessed to dressing as a women to disguise himself, climbing atop a roof overlooking the parade route at Central Avenue and 2nd Street and firing at least 83 rounds indiscriminately into the crowd, twice reloading a legally purchased Smith & Wesson M&P15 semiautomatic rifle he left behind at the scene.

After fleeing the scene in the chaos of the shooting's aftermath, Crimo returned to his mother's home before taking her car — with another semiautomatic rifle — and driving to the Madison, Wisconsin, area, where he considered attacking another Independence Day parade, according to police.

(Lake County Major Crimes Task Force) © Provided by Patch (Lake County Major Crimes Task Force)

Crimo, a Highland Park High School dropout, former Panera employee and musical artist who performed as "Awake The Rapper," is represented by the Lake County Public Defender's Office, which has declined to comment on the case. The defense did not seek to exercise Crimo's right to a speedy trial during the arraignment.

His parents, who attended Wednesday's arraignment, have hired the Libertyville-based criminal defense attorney George Gomez, although they have not been charged in connection with their son's actions. Gomez said the father of the shooting defendant, who ran unsuccessfully against Mayor Nancy Rotering in the 2019 municipal elections, is not concerned that he will face criminal charges.

"Bob Crimo Jr. should not be facing charges for sponsoring the FOID application. At the end of the day, what the father did was to sign the consent for Bobby Crimo III to go through the process of acquiring the FOID. So he had to go through a bunch of background checks," Gomez said.

Four months before Illinois State Police granted a Firearm Owners Identification, or FOID, card, to Crimo III, Highland Park police had submitted a "clear and present danger" report about threats he had made.

The teen — who would otherwise not been able to own a gun until his 21st birthday — then legally purchased two assault-style rifles — the one left at the scene of the shooting and a Kel-Tec SUB-2000 found by police when he was arrested in Lake Forest while driving back from Wisconsin on Route 41.

Gomez, the parents' attorney, declined to say whether his clients are employed or why they have not hired a defense attorney for their son, and he said it was "yet to be disclosed" whether he would represent his parents if they faced civil litigation.

"In hindsight, they deeply regret the actions that their son had taken. Obviously, they're still devastated," he said. "They're part of the community, part of the Highland Park community, they're also heartbroken by all those that have been affected by this tragic event. They're here to express their sorrows."

Crimo is due back in court Nov. 1 for a status hearing.

Last month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker's administration announced an emergency change to administrative rules allowing clear and present danger reports to be kept even if police determine the report's subject is not dangerous.

And last week, State Rep. Bob Morgan (D-Highwood), who was in attendance at the parade, was appointed by Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch (D-Hillside) to chair a new committee of House Democrats tasked with drawing up changes to state firearm regulations.

Ashbey Beasley, a Highland Park resident who was about to march in the parade with Morgan and her young son, came to court to witness Crimo's first in-person court appearance.

"I'm here today because people from my community cannot be here, they aren't ready. They are broken, living in fear and I wanted to be here and be a presence for them to be able to sit in the courtroom, and know that my town matters and what happened to my town matters and tat we are here to make sure that justice is carried out," Beasley said. "I have the utmost faith in Eric Rinehart's office that he will bring down the hammer of justice on this defendant."

Since the shooting, Beasley has traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for a federal assault weapons ban. She said she was motivated by the fact that the accused gunman was able to legally purchase the weapon used in the shooting.

"Within a matter of seconds he shot off nearly 100 rounds and destroyed families and broke many parts of our community," she said. "And it will happen again if we don't pass a federal assault weapons ban."

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

The article Bobby Crimo Pleads Not Guilty To 117 Counts In Highland Park Shooting appeared first on Highland Park Patch.

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