Judge pushes November trial date for accused Highland Park shooter’s father

By Gregory Harutunian For Chronicle Media

Attorney George Gomez, left, talks to media as Robert E. Crimo Jr., looks on after an appearance at the Lake County, Ill., Courthouse, Friday, June 16, 2023, in Waukegan, Ill. Crimo Jr., faces seven counts of felony reckless conduct for signing the application for his son’s firearm owners ID card in December of 2019. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A Friday status hearing led Lake County Circuit Court Judge George Strickland to continue shepherding the criminal case against Robert Crimo Jr. toward an expedient trial date. Strickland is seeking to begin hearing the case in October or November. Both the prosecution and defense attorneys agreed that the timetable is “doable.”

Crimo Jr. is the father of alleged Highland Park parade shooter, Robert Crimo III, and is charged with seven felony counts of reckless conduct stemming from the sponsorship of his son’s firearm owner’s identification card in 2019. The card allowed the son to purchase a weapon and ammunition magazines in Chicago that were used in the July 4 attack.

“I am bound not to rush this case, but determined to get a trial date in October or November, prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas, when people have schedules,” said Strickland. He also cited his own schedule, which made availability during that time period.

Strickland also set a June 30 deadline for any additional motions to be filed by defense attorney George Gomez and Assistant State’s Attorney Jeffrey Facklam.

Gomez said he intends to file a motion to dismiss the case, along with several others. Facklam will file a court-ordered subpoena for additional records from a school, which will be included in discovery documents. Both sides indicated their mutual sharing of information is approximately 95 percent complete.

In a hearing in April, it was revealed that corrupted computer files had delayed the exchange documents and videos on both sides, necessitating an extension. Other information still outstanding included depositions with defense witnesses, and Crimo III’s mother.

Strickland also set another hearing date for July 14, and inquired whether Gomez would pursue a jury or bench trial. Gomez replied the decision would be made by the next hearing. A bench trial would permit Strickland to preside over the case and render the verdict, as opposed to a jury.

Crimo Jr. faces three years of incarceration, if convicted on any of the counts, or may receive probation.

In a related matter, the attending media requested permission to “film” and broadcast portions of the trial.

“It is a Supreme Court filing to do so, but those testifying have the right to object,” said Strickland. “Attorneys and witnesses can object to their testimony being disseminated, so this request has not been ruled on.”

He said, “Sometime in September, everyone will know on this request (after input from all parties.)”

Crimo III, made his third court appearance May 9 before Lake County Circuit Court Judge Victoria Rossetti. In a short five-minute hearing, defense attorneys indicated that a potential trial date could set during his Sept. 11 next case management hearing.

He is accused of killing seven people and injuring four dozen others, using a semi-automatic weapon from a rooftop, during an attack on Independence Day parade goers in downtown Highland Park, last year.