UNITED STATES NEWS

Illinois judge refuses to dismiss case against father of parade shooting suspect

Aug 28, 2023, 5:19 AM | Updated: 11:36 am

CHICAGO (AP) — A judge on Monday refused to dismiss the case against a father who helped his son obtain a gun license three years before authorities say the younger man fatally shot seven people at a 2022 Fourth of July parade in suburban Chicago.

Illinois prosecutors charged Robert Crimo Jr. under a unconstitutionally vague law, his lawyer argued at a hearing earlier this month in Waukegan, north of Highland Park where the shooting took place.

Lake County Judge George Strickland rejected that argument, as well as a defense contention that prosecutors charged Crimo Jr. too late — after a three-year statute of limitations had passed. The court’s rulings mean Crimo Jr.’s Nov. 6 trial will go head as previously scheduled.

The judge said at the hearing earlier in August that he would take three weeks to mull a decision, and he announced his ruling at a Monday hearing, which was also in Waukegan. He heard additional arguments on the statute of limitations issue Monday before ruling on it.

Crimo Jr. listened intently from a defense table chair, his hands folded in front of him, as the judge went through the arguments. He didn’t appear to show any outward reaction as the judge dashed any hopes the case would be thrown out.

Crimo Jr. pleaded not guilty earlier this year to seven counts of reckless conduct — one count for each person killed. Each count carries a maximum three-year prison term.

Prosecutors had alleged that he helped his son, Robert Crimo III, obtain a gun license even though the then-19-year-old had threatened violence.

The four-sentence section of the state law invoked to charge Crimo Jr. says “a person commits reckless conduct when he or she, by any means lawful or unlawful, recklessly performs an act or acts that … cause great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another person.”

A defense filing argued that the law’s lack of specificity makes it impossible to know what actions qualify as criminal reckless conduct. They also say it offers no definition of “cause,” opening the way for prosecutors to wrongly link the signing of a gun license application to a shooting years later.

“Here, the reckless conduct charge … specifically seeks to criminalize the Defendant’s lawful act of signing a truthful affidavit,” according to the filing. It adds that, until Crimo Jr.’s case, “Illinois has never prosecuted an individual for signing a truthful affidavit under oath.”

Crimo Jr.’s lawyer, George Gomez, argued earlier this month that prosecutors interpreted the law in an overly broad way that could create a “chilling effect” for residents who would worry that signing any affidavit, in this case a firearm owners ID application, could eventually be deemed reckless conduct.

Explaining his rulings Monday, Judge Strickland said the law was specific enough and was structured similarly to many, clearly constitutional laws. It was not overly broad, he said, including because it is limits to reckless conduct that causes great bodily harm.

A grand jury indicted the son last year on 21 first-degree murder counts, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery, representing the seven people killed and dozens wounded in the attack. Potential evidence is voluminous in the son’s case, for which no trial date has been set. He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors said after the father’s arrest that the accusations were based on his sponsorship of his son’s application for a gun license in December 2019. Authorities say Crimo III tried to kill himself in April 2019 and was accused by a relative in September 2019 of making threats to “kill everyone.”

Gomez argued Monday that prosecutors missed the deadline to charge Crimo Jr. because three years had passed. The judge agreed the statute of limitations was three years. But he said the years should be counted from the day of the Highland Park shooting, not from Crimo Jr.’s signature on the application.

Legal experts have said it’s rare for a parent or guardian of a suspect in a shooting to face charges, in part because it’s so difficult to prove such charges.

The father is a familiar face around Highland Park, where he was once a mayoral candidate and operated convenience stores. He was released on a $50,000 bond after his December arrest.

Also Monday, the judge indicated he was open to a TV camera being in court during Crimo Jr.’s trial and to live streaming of the proceedings. Strickland has previously allowed a photographer to take photographs during the pretrial hearings and said that would continue.

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart told the judge he wouldn’t want media coverage of any evidence in the father’s case to disrupt prosecutors’ case against the son but that, ultimately, his office did not object to permitting live and filmed footage.

Gomez also didn’t object to expanded media coverage. He did say two potential defense witnesses may object to TV coverage of their testimony — Crimo III and his mother, Denise Crimo. Crimo III’s defense attorneys, he added, have said they will object to calling him to testify in his father’s case.

Strickland said he’d ask lawyers for the son to attend a hearing on Oct. 30 to discuss any last-minute issues or conflicts related to the father’s trial.

__

Associated Press correspondent Katie Foody also contributed to this report.

United States News

FILE - Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Sept. 20, 2023, ...

Associated Press

They’re a path to becoming governor, but attorney general jobs are now a destination, too

Instead of trying to keep their seats in Congress, two North Carolina politicians are vying for a high-profile office closer to home: state attorney general. The career path that Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop and Democratic U.S. Rep. Jeff Jackson are trying to follow was once a rarity but has become more common across the […]

4 hours ago

Rick Elskamp sits with his oldest daughter, Sheridan, and discusses the frustrations of having his ...

Associated Press

States promise to help disabled kids. Why do some families wait a decade or more?

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — When Lilly Miller was in elementary school, teachers told her parents they needed to immediately sign up their youngest daughter, who has Down syndrome, for a wait list so the state would pay for a day program when she grew up. The teachers predicted a six-year wait. The Millers have been […]

5 hours ago

This image provided by the Idaho Department of Correction shows Thomas Eugene Creech on Jan. 9, 200...

Associated Press

Idaho set to execute Thomas Eugene Creech, one of the longest-serving death row inmates in the US

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The hour of Thomas Eugene Creech’s death has been set, and it is rapidly approaching. On Wednesday morning Idaho prison officials will ask the 73-year-old if he would like a mild sedative to help calm him before his execution at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution south of Boise. Then, at 10 […]

6 hours ago

FILE - A bump stock is displayed in Harrisonburg, Va., on March 15, 2019. The Supreme Court will he...

Associated Press

Supreme Court to hear challenge to bump stock ban in high court’s latest gun case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a challenge to a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, a gun accessory used in a Las Vegas massacre that was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. A Texas gun shop owner argues the Trump administration didn’t follow federal law when it reversed course […]

6 hours ago

FILE - Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, speaks during a news conference outside the Capito...

Associated Press

Hunter Biden to appear for closed-door interview with Republicans conducting impeachment inquiry

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Biden is set to appear Wednesday on Capitol Hill for a closed-door deposition with lawmakers, a critical moment for Republicans as their impeachment inquiry into his father and their family’s business affairs teeters on the brink of collapse. The deposition will mark a decisive point for the 14-month Republican investigation into […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

1 person injured when Hawaii tour helicopter crashes on remote Kauai beach

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — One person was injured when a tour helicopter crashed on a remote beach on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, the county fire department said Tuesday. An aircraft operated by Jack Harter Helicopters crashed at Honopu Beach on the Napali Coast, a rugged stretch of Kauai that is only accessible by hiking, […]

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Illinois judge refuses to dismiss case against father of parade shooting suspect