The Lake County state’s attorney said a “powerful message is being sent” after the father of the Highland Park shooter was sentenced to 60 days in jail after taking a misdemeanor plea deal Monday.
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 Class 4 felony.
Crimo Jr. appeared in court Monday morning for a bench trial before Lake County Judge George Strickland.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart informed the judge that a plea deal had been reached in the case.
Crimo Jr. pleaded guilty to seven counts of reckless conduct, a Class A misdemeanor, in exchange for his felony charges being dismissed.
The plea deal consists of two years of probation, 100 hours of public service and 60 days in the Lake County Jail.
Crimo Jr. will be required to surrender his FOID card and weapons as part of his probation.
Strickland accepted the plea deal and sentenced Crimo Jr. to the agreed terms.
Rinehart said the families of the seven victims killed in the Highland Park mass shooting had been “consulted extensively” about the plea agreement.
Strickland questioned Rinehart whether any of the families wished to make a victim impact statement.
The state’s attorney said he was unsure whether they wanted to make a victim impact statement but said he did not believe the charge Crimo Jr. pleaded guilty to required the victim’s families the opportunity to give a victim impact statement under state law.
Following the brief court hearing Monday, Rinehart spoke during a press conference.
“Robert Crimo, Jr., made the reckless and dangerous decision to sponsor his son’s FOID application. This wasn’t a fishing license. This wasn’t a permission slip to go to the museum – this was a permission slip for his son to buy an assault rifle. And when he signed this permission slip – he knew exactly how dangerous it was for this 19-year-old to have a weapon,” Rinehart said.
The state’s attorney said the legal system found Crimo Jr. “bears responsibility for endangering so many” and that he will face punishment for it.
“Parents bear a forceful responsibility for their decisions to allow children access to firearms, especially when they are acutely aware of the potential consequences to themselves and to society,” Rinehart said.
Illinois State Police Director Brenden Kelly, Highland Park Police Department Detective Brian Bodden and Illinois State Representative Bob Morgan stood alongside the state’s attorney during the conference.
“This sends a very strong message in a way that it is unprecedented in the history of our state, and to some extent, that is unprecedented in the United States,” Kelly said.
Rinehart read off the names of the seven slain victims from the Fourth of July parade shooting and said they should all be here. “This is not a day to celebrate. It is a day filled with deep emotion for many, but also hope.”
“We hope that by holding this father accountable and by sending him to jail, we are sending a powerful message to others,” Rinehart said.
The misdemeanor charges Crimo Jr. pleaded guilty to carry up to 365 days in jail. He faced up to three years in prison if convicted of his felony charges.
Crimo Jr. will begin serving his 60-day sentence on November 15.
George Gomez, Crimo Jr.’s attorney, read a prepared statement to reporters following the hearing but did not answer any questions.
“The result of today’s proceedings provides a fair outcome to my client and the community of Highland Park,” Gomez said.
The attorney said key evidence would be disclosed to the public if Crimo Jr. went on trial which would jeopardize the man’s son’s right to a fair trial.
“As a father, Mr. Crimo wanted to ensure his son received a fair trial. Additionally, it appeared as we got closer to trial, the state’s strategy required pinning Mr. Crimo’s family against each other,” Gomez said.
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, 2022, 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.
The younger Crimo, who is being held on 117 charges, is scheduled to appear in court again on December 11.