Prosecution granted extension in Highland Park mass shooting trial

By Gregory Harutunian For Chronicle Media

The alleged Highland Park shooter, Robert Crimo III, sits with his public defender, Anton Trzina. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, Pool)

In a short three-minute hearing, Lake County circuit court judge Victoria A. Rossetti granted a prosecution request for an extension in the criminal trial of alleged Highland Park shooter, Robert Crimo III.

The Jan. 31 action allows the county state’s attorney’s office to accumulate further evidence through victim interviews and documents related to the purchase of the semi-automatic weapon used in the July 4 attack.

Crimo III last appeared in court for a November hearing, and prosecutors indicated that they had accumulated more than 10,000 pages of documents, as well as photos and videos, involving the Highland Park Independence Day shooting which left seven dead and more than 50 people injured, since that time. They also stated the criminal investigation is ongoing.

Crimo III, 21, appeared taciturn, sitting at the defense table with his two attorneys, as Assistant State’s Attorney Ben Dillon argued that subpoenas are required and needed to obtain additional information. He said approximately 2,500 pages of documents have been shared with the defense attorneys. The Jan. 31 session was a case management hearing held for discovery motions.

The father, Robert Crimo Jr., a former Highland Park mayoral candidate, was charged one week earlier with reckless conduct for allegedly helping his underage son obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card through the Illinois State Police in late 2019. Issuing the card allowed the defendant to purchase the semi-automatic weapon, used in the attack, in Cook County.

Prosecutors claim the father should have recognized his son’s psychological issues. However, several months earlier, local law enforcement was called to the Highwood home of a relative, where Crimo III had made threats to kill his family and himself. Sixteen knives and a samurai sword were confiscated, although no arrest was allegedly made.

In a press release, two days after the July 4 attack, the Illinois State Police stated that Crimo III had passed four background checks. Several months later, law enforcement stated that a “Clear and Present Danger” report had purportedly been made. In sponsoring the FOID card, Crimo Jr. allegedly said the weapons were his possessions.

The alleged Highland Park shooter, Robert Crimo III, sits with his public defender, Anton Trzina. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, Pool)

Although criminal indictments have yet to be returned by the Lake County Grand Jury, such an action is being deemed “overreach,” and a successful prosecution of those charges has been questioned by the father’s defense attorney, George Gomez. He remains free on bond.

Sara Avalos, communications specialist for the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office, said, “At this time, the state’s attorney’s office is not commenting on this (either) case since it’s still an open and active case.”

Last August, Crimo III pleaded not guilty to more than 120 felony charges, including 21 counts of murder, three for each of the seven victims killed. He is currently being held without bond at the Lake County Jail.

According to a report filed by WBBM-AM, Crimo III used his telephone privilege to “prank” a New York reporter seeking an interview. All telephone calls are recorded by the Lake County Jail authorities. During the conversation, he asked the reporter if his refrigerator was running. The reporter answered, “Yes,” then Crimo III had said why aren’t you catching it?

Crimo III faces life in prison, if convicted on the charges. His next court appearance is scheduled for May 9.

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