The father of a man charged in a deadly Fourth of July parade shooting in suburban Chicago pleaded guilty to seven misdemeanors Monday in a case that centered on how his son obtained a gun license.
Robert Crimo Jr. entered the plea as his trial was about to start in Lake County court, in Waukegan, Illinois, and was immediately sentenced by Judge George Strickland to 60 days in jail, starting next week.
He had been charged with and pleaded not guilty to seven counts of reckless conduct — one for each person his son, Robert Crimo III, is accused of killing in Highland Park on Independence Day last year.
In 2019, at age 19, Crimo III was too young to apply for his own gun license, but he could apply with the sponsorship of a parent or guardian. His father sponsored his application, even though just months earlier a relative reported to police that Crimo III had a collection of knives and had threatened to “kill everyone.”
Crimo Jr.'s attorney, George Gomez, had called the felony charges, which can carry a prison term of up to three years, “baseless and unprecedented.”
Anti-gun violence advocates say they are encouraged that police and prosecutors are investigating anyone who may have contributed to the attack. But legal experts say criminal liability can be hard to prove against a shooter's parent or guardian. More often, they face civil lawsuits where legal standards of proof are less stringent.
There are exceptions. In Michigan, the parents of a teenager who killed four students at Oxford High School are facing involuntary manslaughter charges. James and Jennifer Crumbley are accused of making a gun accessible to Ethan Crumbley and ignoring his mental health needs.
In Illinois, Crimo III faces 21 first-degree murder counts, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery. Prosecutors say he admitted he was the gunman when he was arrested hours after the shooting in Highland Park. No trial date has been set.
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