Father of accused Highland Park shooter accepts plea deal

By Gregory Harutunian for Chronicle Media

Robert Crimo Jr. accepted a plea deal on Monday, Nov. 6. (Photo courtesy of AP/Nam Y. Huh, photo pool)

The trial of the Robert Crimo Jr. was scheduled Monday, Nov. 6, for opening arguments. Instead, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart announced to the court that a plea agreement had been reached over the weekend.

Through his attorney, George Gomez, Crimo Jr. accepted the stipulations of the agreement, which includes 60 days incarceration in the Lake County Jail, a $25,000 fine, 100 hours of community service, and reimbursement for court costs. Lake County Associate Court Judge George D. Strickland allowed Crimo Jr. to begin his sentence Nov. 15, rather than being taken into custody at the close of the hearing.

Crimo Jr. had faced up to five years in prison, and a $25,000 fine for seven felony counts of reckless conduct.

Gomez also requested that the Crimo Jr.’s bond held by the court be applied to the fine amount.

“This offender saying he is guilty, this offender being punished, and probation, was always our goal,” said Rinehart, after court was adjourned. “Parents are responsible for the actions of their minors, with the information he (Crimo Jr.) had … when parents allow and enable those individuals to get firearms, do such damage, they should be held accountable, and be held accountable anywhere in this country.”

At a press conference, Gomez read a prepared statement and indicated there would be no further comments. “As part of Mr. Crimo’s defense team, we fought tirelessly to defend (him) in every step of this process. My position has always been to try this case on the facts given in this case and how this case is being charged.

“As you all know, this matter was going to be tried first, before his son’s case would be tried. This would mean that the potential key evidence would be disclosed to the public jeopardizing his son’s fair right to trial,” he said. “Additionally, it appeared that as it got closer to trial, this state’s strategy was pitting (his) family against each other. Ultimately, he didn’t want his family torn apart on a public stage, more than it already is.

“He also took into account the community of Highland Park, and as a member of that community, didn’t want the community to re-live these tragic events and make a public spectacle of it.”

Crimo III, is accused of killing seven people and injuring dozens more during a July 4, 2022 Independence Day shooting in downtown Highland Park. Crimo Jr. was charged because he signed an affidavit sponsoring his son’s state firearm owner’s identification card, which was used to purchase the weapon and ammunition in the attack.

Seven people were killed and dozens more injured. Crimo III is charged separately with more than 120 felony counts related to the incident.

At an Oct. 30 hearing, attorneys for Crimo III stated their defendant would not testify at his father’s trial, and if put on the stand, would plead the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination.

In April 2019, law enforcement agencies were called to the residence of Crimo Jr.’s brother, where the younger Crimo had threatened to kill himself and the family. Sixteen knives and one samurai sword were confiscated, and no arrests made. Prosecution arguments hinged on the father’s knowledge that his son had “mental issues” and yet, signed the affidavit.