Chicago-area 4th of July bombing suspect pleads not guilty

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WAUKEGAN, Ill. – The man accused of killing seven people and injuring dozens more in a shooting during an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago pleaded not guilty on Wednesday, a week after prosecutors announced he faced 117 charges in the attack.

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Robert E. Crimo III appeared for a brief hearing in Lake County Circuit Court on Wednesday to formally argue the charges — 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of grievous bodily harm depicting those killed and injured during the parade in Highland Park.

Crimo wore a COVID-19 face mask throughout the 10-minute arraignment and repeatedly told Judge Victoria Rossetti he understood the charges and the potential penalties he faces, including life imprisonment. perpetuity.

In late July, Lake County prosecutors announced that a grand jury had indicted Crimo on the charges. Prosecutors previously filed seven murder charges against the 21-year-old in the days following the shooting.

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The multiple first-degree murder charges allege that Crimo intended to kill, caused death or grievous bodily harm, and acted with a high likelihood of causing death or grievous bodily harm to the seven deceased persons.

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A representative from the county’s Office of Public Defenders, which represents Crimo, said the office does not publicly comment on any cases. A lawyer for the office pleaded not guilty to Crimo during the court appearance on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said Crimo admitted to shooting once police arrested him after an hour-long search for the shooter who opened fire from the rooftop of a building along the parade route.

Authorities said the injured ranged in age from 8 to 80, including an 8-year-old boy who was paralyzed from the waist down when the shooting severed his spine.

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In comments delivered after the hearing, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart declined to comment on whether Crimo could face additional charges and said he would not comment if Crimo’s parents could be charged.

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Some in the community have questioned why Crimo’s parents apparently supported his interest in firearms just months after he allegedly threatened to kill himself and resort to violence.

George Gomez, an attorney representing Crimo’s parents, said Wednesday that they were not worried about criminal charges being brought against them. Both attended Wednesday’s hearing where they sat quietly behind their son.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Gomez described his customers as « devastated » and « heartbroken » for Highland Park and said they were cooperating with authorities.

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