A judge ruled Monday that the trial of the Highland Park gunman’s father could go ahead, dismissing his lawyers’ arguments that he could not be held responsible for his son being killed during a March 4 parade. July 2022 killed seven people and injured a dozen others.
Lake County Assistant Judge George Strickland denied a motion by attorneys for 58-year-old Robert Crimo Jr. to dismiss the charges against him, as his attorneys had requested.
Crimo Jr. was indicted by a grand jury in February on seven counts of reckless conduct, one for each person his son killed in an attack after he sponsored the 19-year-old’s gun owner identification (FOID) application, who the AR-15 style gun used in the shooting enabled him to purchase it.
Prosecutors have noted that by signing this document, Crimo Jr. agreed “to be liable for all damages resulting from the applicant’s use of firearms or firearm ammunition.”
But Crimo Jr.’s attorneys have argued that the judge should dismiss the charges against him because he signed his son’s purchase years before the shooting and that the law is too vague about reckless conduct, under which he is charged and that he exercised his right to freedom of expression by signing the application.
Six days after a mass shooting during the July 4th parade in Highland Park, Illinois, people attend a memorial to seven of the victims in Port Clinton Square on July 10, 2022. Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via Getty Images file
Judge Strickland dismissed those claims Monday, noting that while the state must prove Crimo Jr.’s actions were reckless, the reckless conduct statute itself does not prohibit lawful conduct and is therefore not overly broad.
The judge also ruled that criminal charges could still be brought against Crimo Jr. despite signing his son’s motion in December 2019, arguing that the statute of limitations runs until July 4, 2025 — three years from the date of the mass shooting.
“Parents who help their children obtain weapons of war have a moral and legal responsibility if those children harm others with those weapons,” Lake County Attorney Eric Rinehart said at the time of the grand jury’s indictment.
Crimo Jr.’s negligent misconduct trial is scheduled for November 6, and the judge Monday set the next court date for October 30. The trial of his son, who has been charged with 117 offenses and has pleaded not guilty No date has yet been set for any charges against him.
Crimo Jr., a former Highland Park mayoral candidate who has expressed support for the Second Amendment, faces a three-year sentence if convicted.
His son, the shooter, was 21 when he allegedly climbed onto the roof of a Highland Park building overlooking the route of the July Fourth parade and opened fire on spectators lining the street. Police said he planned the attack for weeks and escaped wearing women’s clothing to hide his facial tattoos and to hide in the crowd.
He has a history of posting violent social media content with images of mass shootings.
Authorities said the gunman confessed to the attack and also considered staging another attack in Wisconsin.
The judge also said Monday he would allow a live television camera in the courtroom throughout the trial, but could prevent the recording of certain evidence or testimonies that could adversely affect the shooter’s case.
The seven people killed in the shooting were Katherine Goldstein, 64; Irina McCarthy, 35; Kevin McCarthy, 37; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Stephen Strauss, 88; Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78; and Eduardo Uvaldo, 69. A dozen other people were also injured.
This is an evolving story. Please check again for updates.
The Associated Press, Melissa Chan, David K. Li, and Dennis Romero contributed.