Highland Park shooting suspect’s dad gets 60 days in plea deal

The father of a man charged in a deadly Fourth of July parade shooting in suburban Chicago accused of helping his teenage son obtain a gun license even after he had threatened violence accepted a plea deal moments before his trial was set to begin.

Robert Crimo Jr. is charged with seven counts of reckless conduct — one for each person his son, Robert Crimo III, is accused of killing in Highland Park on Independence Day last year. Each count carries a maximum three-year prison term.

NBC Chicago has confirmed that Crimo Jr. has accepted a deal to plead guilty to seven misdemeanor reckless conduct counts, with a sentencing of two years probation and 60 days in jail.

As part of the deal, Crimo Jr. also must surrender his FOID card, and has agreed to not sponsor any minors for FOID cards in the future.

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart is scheduled to hold a press conference to discuss the hearing at 11 a.m. Monday. According to a release, Illinois State Police Director, Brenden Kelly, Highland Park Police Department Detective Brian Bodden and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering will also be in attendance.

NBC Chicago will stream the press conference live in the player above when it begins.

In 2019, at the age of 19, Crimo III was too young to apply for his own gun license, but he could apply with the sponsorship of a parent or guardian. His father sponsored his application, even though just months earlier a relative reported to police that Crimo III had a collection of knives and had threatened to “kill everyone.”

Crimo Jr. was arrested in December 2022, and pleaded not guilty this year to seven counts of reckless conduct. He waived his right to a jury trial, meaning Judge George Strickland will hear evidence and issue a verdict.

Defense attorney George Gomez has called the charges against Crimo Jr. “baseless and unprecedented.”

Anti-gun violence advocates say they are encouraged that police and prosecutors are investigating anyone who may have contributed to the attack, but legal experts say criminal liability can be hard to prove against a shooter’s parent or guardian. More often, they face civil lawsuits where legal standards of proof are less stringent.

But there are exceptions. In Michigan, a prosecutor charged the parents of a then-15-year-old boy with involuntary manslaughter in December 2021 after their son was charged in the fatal shooting of four students at his high school. They face trial Jan. 23. Their son pleaded guilty to murder and terrorism charges and is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 8.

Strickland has said he will allow Crimo III’s statement to police after his arrest as evidence, and both sides are expected to cite the transcript at Crimo Jr.’s trial. Video of the interrogation — which the judge has viewed — will not be shown, to protect the suspected gunman’s right to a fair trial.

The son faces 21 first-degree murder counts, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery. Potential evidence — prosecutors say Crimo III admitted he was the gunman when he was arrested hours after the shooting — is voluminous. No trial date has been set in his case.

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