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Highland Park shooting suspect Robert E. Crimo III pleads not guilty to 117 criminal charges

<i>Jim Vondruska/Getty Images</i><br/>Flowers are laid at a memorial for the victims of a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park
Jim Vondruska/Getty Images
Flowers are laid at a memorial for the victims of a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park

By Rebekah Riess and Omar Jimenez, CNN

The 21-year-old accused of opening fire at a July 4th parade in Highland Park, Illinois, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 117 criminal charges, including 21 counts of first-degree murder, court officials said.

The gunman, Robert E. Crimo III, also was arraigned on 48 counts of attempted first-degree murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery, one for each victim who was struck by a bullet, bullet fragment or shrapnel, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.

If he is convicted of murdering any two people, he will face natural life in prison without the possibility of parole, Rinehart said. If the allegation of great bodily harm is proven, those 48 charges would also carry a sentence of up to natural life, Rinehart said. In addition, 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm were also charged, which carry a sentence of 6 to 30 years, served at 85 percent under Illinois law.

The court hearing came a month after Crimo allegedly climbed onto a rooftop in the Chicago suburb and opened fire on unsuspecting paradegoers, killing seven people.

He has been held without bail since being arrested during a traffic stop hours after the shooting. Crimo voluntarily admitted to authorities he fired two 30-round magazines before loading his weapon with a third and firing again, Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Ben Dillon said last month in a virtual bail hearing.

Public defenders for Crimo did not request a trial. “We certainly want them to have time to look at the evidence,” Rinehart said. Crimo’s next court date will be November 1.

Following the hearing, George Gomez, attorney for Crimo’s mother, Denise Pesina, and father, Robert Crimo Jr., said Pesina had spoken to her son over the phone prior to the hearing. When asked why the parents were in attendance at Wednesday’s hearing, Gomez said, “They wanted to show their support for their son.”

“Obviously, at the end of the day Bobby Crimo III is still the son of my clients. They’re supportive of, as much as possible, of what is occurring,” Gomez said. “Obviously they’re still devastated by what had occurred on July 4. However, you know, it is their son and they’re trying to support Bobby Crimo III as much as possible.”

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CNN’s Eric Levenson, Jamiel Lynch and Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.

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