The father of the accused Highland Park parade shooter appeared in court Thursday and pleaded not guilty to “recklessly” helping his son obtain a gun permit.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Robert Crimo Jr., 58, of Highwood, in mid-December with seven counts of reckless conduct causing great bodily harm.
A grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday formally charging Crimo Jr. with the seven counts of reckless conduct causing great bodily harm, a Class 4 felony.
“Parents who help their kids get weapons of war are morally and legally responsible when those kids hurt others with those weapons,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said Wednesday.
“We presented our evidence to a grand jury and they agreed the case should move forward. We will continue to seek justice for the victims and prosecute those who endanger the community,” Rinehart said.
Crimo Jr. appeared in front of Lake County Judge George Strickland Thursday morning where he was arraigned on the charges.
Crimo Jr. pleaded not guilty to the seven counts against him.
Prosecutors and Crimo Jr.’s defense attorney agreed on April 4 for the next hearing in the case, which will be for a case management conference.
Crimo Jr. is the father of 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III, who currently faces 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.
Prosecutors and Highland Park police officers allege that Crimo Jr. was criminally reckless at the time that he helped his son obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card.
Prosecutors said that helping his son obtain a FOID card was a contributing cause to the harm suffered by the murder victims in the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park.
The man’s son, Crimo III, was under 21 when he sought to obtain the FOID card and required his father’s participation in the application process.
Lake County Judge Paul Novak found probable cause for the charges and issued a warrant for Crimo Jr.’s arrest in mid-December.
Crimo Jr. was transported to the Lake County Jail after being arrested on December 16 by the Highland Park Police Department.
Attorney George Gomez said during a bond hearing that his client has no criminal history and is a former business owner.
Gomez said Crimo Jr. had $5,000 cash to post for bond if the court imposed a cash bond.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Lindsay Hicks asked the court to order Crimo Jr. to surrender his concealed carry license and FOID card, along with any firearms he possesses, as a condition of bond.
Hicks also said she was in agreement with Gomez for a $50,000 bond, meaning $5,000 would need to be posted for Crimo Jr. to be released.
Lake County Judge Jacquelyn Melius questioned why prosecutors asked for the low bond. Hicks said she believed that amount is enough to secure Crimo Jr.’s return to court.
Melius reduced the bond to $50,000. The original bond on the warrant was $500,000.
Crimo Jr. was released from the Lake County Jail on December 17 after posting the $5,000 cash.
Rinehart said during a December press conference that parents are in the “best position” to decide whether their teenager should have a weapon.
“They are the first line of defense. In this case, that system failed when Robert Crimo Jr. sponsored his son,” Rinehart said.
“He knew what he knew, and he signed the form anyway. This was criminally reckless and a contributing cause to the bodily harm suffered by the victims on July 4,” Rinehart said.
Illinois State Police and the Lake County Major Crime Task Force detailed two past law enforcement encounters with Crimo III.
Crimo III applied for the FOID card in December 2019 after police responded in September 2019 to his residence when he threatened to “kill everyone.”
A “clear and present danger” report was filed with the state police but no one in the family wanted to move forward with a criminal complaint.
Crimo III had also attempted suicide in April 2019, prompting a police response.
Reckless conduct is a Class 4 felony and Crimo Jr. can be sentenced to up to three years in prison, but he could also receive probation.