The accused Highland Park parade shooter, who discharged his public defenders and briefly represented himself, requested on Friday that a judge reappoint the public defender.
Robert E. Crimo III, 23, of Highwood, faces 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.
He has been held in the Lake County Jail without bond since July 6, 2022.
Crimo III appeared for a status hearing on Friday before Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti.
Rossetti asked Crimo III if he wished to continue representing himself in the case.
“With the — with the consideration, I am requesting to reappoint the Lake County public defenders,” Crimo III replied.
The judge granted the request and reappointed the Lake County Public Defender’s Office.
The public defender’s office was not present during the Friday hearing, which lasted less than two minutes, because they had previously been discharged by Crimo III on December 11.
During that court hearing, Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Ben Dillon informed the court that Crimo III wished to proceed pro se — without an attorney — in the case.
Rossetti asked numerous questions to Crimo III about his experience in court and with trials.
He said he has no experience with trials and has only been in court before as an observer.
Rossetti said the trial is expected to last four to six weeks, including 7-10 days for jury selection, due to the number of witnesses.
“Do you understand sir, that this court will not be in a position to help you in any way? You will be considered as an attorney and will have to subpoena witnesses without the help of any attorney,” Rossetti said before continuing to list tasks that Crimo III would have to do by himself.
Crimo III responded and said he understood and did not want more time to discuss the decision with his attorneys.
The judge initially wanted to schedule the trial for February 2025 but Crimo III said he wished for a speedy trial.
Rossetti scheduled the trial for 9 a.m. on February 26, 2024, during last month’s court hearing.
It is unclear whether the trial date will be postponed following the reappointment of the public defender.
A case management hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
Crimo is currently in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) of the Lake County Jail.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said last month that Crimo III was placed in ASU, also known as the maximum security, for rule violations.
Covelli said that Crimo III violated the rules in the jail on November 6 by verbally threatening a correctional officer.
The incident occurred when Crimo III became upset during a random shakedown of his cell, Covelli said.
Correctional staff routinely search the cells for contraband and homemade weapons.
Crimo was set to be released back to his previous cellblock on Thursday. It is unclear yet whether he violated additional rules that caused his time in the ASU to be extended.
Prosecutors previously said Crimo III admitted to “looking down his sights” of his Smith & Wesson M&P 15 semi-automatic rifle before opening fire on the crowd on July 4, 2022, near Second Street and Central Avenue in Highland Park.
Crimo told investigators he fired two full 30-round magazines before loading a third 30-round magazine and firing, Dillon said.
Seven people were killed and dozens of others were shot. 83 spent shell casings were recovered at the scene.