Robert E. Crimo III (left) talks to Lake County Assistant Public Defender Anton Trizna (right) as he appears before Judge Victoria Rossetti at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan Wednesday where he was expected to plead guilty to the Highland Park parade shooting but then refused to enter into the negotiated agreement. | Photo: Nam Y. Huh (AP/Pool)

The accused Highland Park parade mass shooter refused to enter into an anticipated plea deal during a Wednesday court hearing that prosecutors said would have resulted in him being sentenced to life.

Crimo III, 23, of Highwood, appeared in the courtroom in a wheelchair at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday for a change of plea hearing in front of Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti.

He was charged in July 2022 with 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.

Prosecutors announced in court that Crimo III would be pleading guilty to 55 charges in total.

Robert E. Crimo III, who was in a wheelchair, is pushed into the courtroom by a corrections officer for a hearing in front of Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti Wednesday where he was expected to plead guilty to the Highland Park parade shooting but then refused to enter into the negotiated agreement. | Photo: Nam Y. Huh (AP/Pool)

Those charges included seven counts of first-degree murder — one for each victim killed — as well as 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm — representing each victim injured — as part of the negotiated plea agreement.

Prosecutors said the plea meant that Crimo III would be sentenced to mandatory natural life in the Illinois Department of Corrections and would not be eligible for supervised release.

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Rossetti asked Crimo III to confirm that the negotiation was what he went over with his attorneys prior to the hearing.

Crimo III stared at the judge and did not speak. Crimo’s two attorneys then leaned over and both spoke to him quietly.

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart (right) and Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Ben Dillon (left) prepare before Robert E. Crimo III appears before Judge Victoria Rossetti at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan Wednesday. | Photo: Nam Y. Huh (AP/Pool)

One of his attorneys, Gregory Ticsay, told Rossetti that they had spoken to Crimo III previously about the plea.

Ticsay said he did not have a reason for Crimo’s lack of response to the judge’s question.

The judge called a recess and Crimo III and his attorneys went into a private area to speak together.

When the attorneys and Crimo III returned, Crimo III told Rossetti that he did not wish to enter into the plea agreement.

Robert E. Crimo III’s public defenders Gregory Ticsay (right) and Anton Trizna (left) talk before Crimo III appears before Judge Victoria Rossetti at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan Wednesday. | Photo: Nam Y. Huh (AP/Pool)

Crimo III is scheduled to appear in court again for a case management hearing on August 28. His trial is set for February 24.

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Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that Crimo III had informed correctional staff prior to the hearing that he was nervous.

Crimo III told the staff he was unsure if he would be uneasy on his feet. “In order to ensure he was present for his hearing, correctional staff utilized a wheelchair to transport the defendant to the courtroom,” Covelli said.

Crimo III is accused of opening fire on paradegoers attending the Fourth of July parade near Second Street and Central Avenue in Highland Park on July 4, 2022.

Numerous police departments and SWAT teams respond on July 4, 2022, to the area of Second Street and Central Avenue in Highland Park following a shooting that left dozens of people injured and seven people killed. | Photo: Woo-Sung Shim / Lake and McHenry County Scanner

Prosecutors previously said Crimo admitted to “looking down his sights” of his Smith & Wesson M&P 15 semi-automatic rifle before opening fire on the Highland Park crowd.

Crimo told investigators he fired two full 30-round magazines before loading a third 30-round magazine and firing.

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Seven people were killed and dozens of others were shot. 83 spent shell casings were recovered at the scene.

Crimo has been held in the Lake County Jail without bond since July 6, 2022.