Alleged Highland Park Parade Gunman Will Represent Himself in February 2024 Trial

A memorial to the victims of the July 4, 2022, shooting in Highland Park. (WTTW News)A memorial to the victims of the July 4, 2022, shooting in Highland Park. (WTTW News)

Robert Crimo III, the man who is charged with killing seven people and wounding dozens more at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade last year, said he intends to represent himself when he stands trial on more than 100 charges.

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In a surprise move Monday, Crimo III told the court he wishes to proceed pro se and will act as his own attorney. The 23-year-old also invoked his right to a speedy trial — pushing what had been expected to be a 2025 trial date up to Feb. 26, 2024.

Crimo III was indicted last year on 117 charges, including 21 counts of first-degree murder stemming from the mass shooting. He faces a minimum of 45 years on each murder count and would receive a life sentence if convicted on more than one of those counts.

“And knowing what these possible penalties could be, you still want to proceed without an attorney?” Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti asked him.

“Yes I do,” he said.

Rossetti asked Crimo III whether he’d ever picked a jury, given an opening argument, questioned witnesses, drafted motions or even taken any legal courses. He told her he had not.

The judge also informed Crimo III he won’t receive any special privileges while detained in jail to allow him to better prepare for trial.

“Do you want some more time to go over this with your attorney?” Rossetti asked.

“No,” Crimo replied.

After Rossetti granted his request, she intended to set a trial date in February 2025 trial date, but Crimo III asked to invoke his right to a speedy trial within 120 days. The judge then agreed to set a trial date early next year.

Crimo III allegedly fired more than 80 rounds from a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 semi-automatic rifle during the attack and disguised himself in women’s clothing in order to conceal distinctive face and neck tattoos and blend into the crowd as he made his escape.

More than 50 people were shot, including seven people who were killed: 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.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Crimo III sent a video message from the Lake County Jail in September in which he claimed the shooting was a “false flag” operation that had been set up by the FBI.

Prosecutors have alleged Crimo III confessed to law enforcement after his arrest.

“The prosecutors on this case have been working tirelessly since July 4, 2022, and will be ready for trial on the set date,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said in a statement. “Our victim specialists have been in constant communication with the victims and their families throughout the case and will continue to do so.”

Rinehart added his office has no comment on Crimo III’s decision to represent himself.

Crimo III’s court hearing Monday was his first since his father, Robert Crimo Jr., pleaded guilty last month to seven misdemeanor counts after he was accused of recklessly aiding his son in obtaining firearms prior to last year’s mass shooting.

Crimo Jr.’s attorney said his client took the deal in part to ensure his son could receive a fair trial and because he didn’t want to force the Highland Park community to “re-live these tragic events.”

Evidence of Crimo III's interview with Highland Park police after his arrest was set to be admitted at his father’s trial and made public for the first time.

Crimo III is due back in court for a hearing Jan. 10.

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson[email protected] | (773) 509-5431

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