The man who prosecutors say killed seven people and wounded dozens more during the Highland Park Fourth of July parade last year will not be called to testify at his father’s upcoming reckless conduct trial.
Attorneys for Robert Crimo Jr., who is set to go to trial next week on seven counts of reckless conduct, had sought to call his son — alleged parade shooter Robert Crimo III — to testify in his defense.
But after Crimo III’s attorneys indicated their client would be asserting his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination if called as a witness, Lake County Judge George Strickland said Crimo III would not need to appear at the upcoming trial.
“I see no reason why I should have him physically come in here to do that,” Strickland said during a hearing Monday.
Crimo Jr’s defense attorney George Gomez said he subpoenaed his client’s son to testify, but accepted Strickland’s ruling after hearing that Crimo III intended to plead the fifth.
More than 50 people were shot at the parade, including seven people who were killed. Those victims were: 64-year-old Katherine Goldstein, 35-year-old Irina McCarthy and her 37-year-old husband Kevin McCarthy, 63-year-old Jacquelyn Sundheim, 88-year-old Stephen Straus, 78-year-old Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza and 69-year-old Eduardo Uvaldo.
Prosecutors have alleged Crimo Jr. took a “reckless and unjustified risk” in December 2019 when he signed his son’s application for a FOID card. At the time, Crimo III was only 19 years old and could not legally obtain a FOID card or purchase a firearm without his father’s assistance.
Highland Park police had two previous interactions with Crimo III in 2019. One occurred that April after he allegedly attempted suicide. Months later, in September, Crimo III allegedly threatened family members, saying he was “going to kill everyone,” according to prosecutors.
Lake County prosecutors have also sought to introduce Crimo III’s school disciplinary and therapeutic records at trial to try and prove Crimo Jr. had knowledge of his son’s “violent ideations” prior to aiding him in his FOID application.
Strickland on Monday rejected a defense request to toss out text messages between Crimo Jr. and his son, in which Crimo III expressed “suicidal ideations” and his father called him “irrational.”
Prosecutors argued those conversations, which took place prior to the 2019 FOID application, helped show Crimo Jr.’s “mindset as he put pen to paper.”
Strickland also rejected a defense motion that sought to bar testimony from a man who told prosecutors about an incident when Crimo III was in high school.
According to Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart, the man recalled Crimo III discussing a mass shooting at a school. Crimo’s father was then called to that scene and “minimized” his son’s statements before he showed the man a gun, Rinehart said. During that exchange, Crimo III then allegedly put a toy cap gun to the man’s neck and pulled the trigger.
Crimo Jr’s defense team argued that while other people were present during this exchange, no other witnesses could corroborate the man’s story, and the man could not recall exactly what year this allegedly took place.
Crimo Jr’s bench trial before Strickland is scheduled to begin Nov. 6. A trial date for Crimo III has not yet been set.