CHICAGO (AP) — A judge on Saturday posted $50,000 bail for the father of an Illinois man accused of killing seven people at a July 4 parade near Chicago, who is accused of helping his son get a gun license.
Robert Crimo Jr. looked somber and tired as he appeared before a judge for the first time since surrendering to police on Friday. He faces seven counts of reckless conduct. His attorney told the judge Saturday that Crimo will be able to pay the bail required for his release.
At the 10-minute hearing, conducted via video link, Lake County Judge Jacquelyn Melius said she accepted an agreement between Crimo’s attorney and prosecutors that would set bail at $50,000. Among the conditions of his release, the judge said, was that he must hand over all gun licenses and all weapons at his home.
The defense attorney previously told the judge his client posed no threat to anyone, had no criminal record and had close ties to the Highland Park community, where the mass shooting took place over the summer. Prosecutors did not oppose Crimo’s release on bail.
Judge Melius scheduled his next hearing for January 12.
Lake County Prosecutor Eric Rinehart said Friday the charges against the father were based on Crimo sponsoring his son’s application for a gun license in December 2019. His son was 19 at the time.
“Parents and guardians are in the best position to decide whether their teens should have a gun,” Rinehart said. “In this case, the system failed when Robert Crimo Jr. sponsored his son. He knew what he knew and he signed the form anyway.”
SEE: Red flag laws in question after revelations about Highland Park shooters
Rinehart declined to discuss further, prompting his office to press charges. Authorities previously said accused gunman Robert Crimo III attempted suicide with a machete in April 2019 and was accused by a family member of threatening to “kill anyone” in September 2019.
Those reports came months before Crimo Jr. sponsored his son’s application.
Chicago-area attorney George M. Gomez said by phone Friday that he is representing Robert Crimo Jr. in the newly announced criminal case. He declined to answer questions but emailed a statement describing the allegations as “baseless and unprecedented.”
“This decision should concern all single parents in the United States who, according to the Lake County Attorney’s Office, know full well what is happening to their 19-year-old adult children and can be criminally responsible for actions nearly three years later.” ‘ Gomez said in a statement. “These allegations are absurd and we will fight them at every turn.”
Gomez said Crimo Jr. “sympathizes and continues to feel terrible for the individuals and families who have been hurt and who have lost loved ones,” but the attorney called the charges “politically motivated and a distraction from the real change that is happening in this country.” must take place. ”
A grand jury in July indicted Robert Crimo III on 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated assault, representing the seven dead and dozens injured in the attack on a popular holiday event in Highland Park.
SEE: Memorial to the victims of the Highland Park shooting
As of Friday, Rinehart had declined to discuss whether the man’s parents could be charged in connection with the murders.
Legal experts have said that a suspected shooter’s parents or guardians are rarely charged – in part because such allegations are difficult to prove.
In a notable exception, a Michigan prosecutor last year filed manslaughter charges against the parents of a teenager accused of fatally shooting four students at his high school. A January hearing in the case has been postponed while the state appeals court reviews an appeal by the parents.
Authorities previously said that Illinois State Police reviewed Crimo III’s December 2019 gun license application and found no reason to deny him because he had no arrests, no criminal record, no serious mental health issues, no protective orders, or other behavior consistent with the law him would disqualify him.
But after the parade shooting, public records showed that Crimo III had attempted suicide with a machete in April 2019, according to a police report from The Associated Press, which noted a “history of attempts.”
In September 2019, police received a report from a family member that Crimo III owned a collection of knives and threatened to “kill everyone”.
Both Crimo III and his mother denied the threat of violence at the time. Police said father Robert Crimo Jr. later told investigators the knives belonged to him and authorities returned them.
Robert Crimo Jr. has appeared at several court hearings for his son this year and nodded a greeting as his son entered the courtroom bound and flanked by guards. The father is a longtime resident of Highland Park and a familiar face in the town, where he was once a mayoral candidate and was known for running convenience stores.
In media interviews after the shooting, Robert Crimo Jr. had said he did not expect charges and did not believe he did anything wrong in helping his son get a gun license through the state’s established process.