Highland Park Mass Shooting Suspect Blows Up His Plea Deal in Dramatic Court Hearing

Nam Y. Huh/Pool via Reuters
Nam Y. Huh/Pool via Reuters

Highland Park mass shooting suspect Robert Crimo III backed out of a plea deal in dramatic fashion on Wednesday, which would’ve landed him life in prison.

Crimo, who was brought into court in a wheelchair after he requested one because he was so nervous he could not walk, will take his case to trial, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

On July 4, 2022, Crimo allegedly disguised himself in women’s clothes and then snuck onto a rooftop where he opened fire on a July 4 parade moving through downtown Highland Park in Illinois.

Bullets came raining down from Crimo’s AR-15, killing seven and injuring dozens, including an eight-year-old boy who was paralyzed.

“Bodies were horribly, horribly, horribly injured from, you know, guns and bullets that were made for war—not for parades,” Dr. David Baum who was watching the procession with his grandchildren told ABC 7 News the day after the shooting.

Crimo allegedly fled the scene in his mother’s car, driving towards Madison, Wisconsin, where police believed he planned to commit another shooting.

He was initially indicted on 117 felony counts, including 21 counts of murder, 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, and 48 counts of attempted murder. However, he was offered a plea deal in which he would plead guilty to seven counts of murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery, according to CNN.

Crimo, who previously elected to represent himself but then reversed his decision and accepted the counsel of a public defender, similarly changed his mind on the deal. According to reporters in the courtroom on Wednesday, prosecutors announced they’d reached a plea deal but, when the judge asked Crimo if he had reviewed the agreement, Crimo refused to say anything.

The judge was forced to set a tentative date to begin a trial on Feb. 25, 2025, according to CNN.

The July 4th attack left seven people dead including Katherine Goldstein, 64; Irina McCarthy, 35; Kevin McCarthy, 37; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Stephen Straus, 88; Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78; and Eduardo Uvaldo, 69.

Crimo allegedly had a long history of violent intents and threats, including telling his family he was going to kill them. Crimo also posted rap songs and videos under the pseudonym “Awake the Rapper” in which he rapped about slaughtering people while a video of a cartoon figure resembling himself killed people.

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