WAUKEGAN, Ill. (NEWSnet/AP) — The man accused of killing seven people and injuring dozens more at a 2022 Independence Day parade in a Chicago suburb publicly rejected a plea agreement over murder charges Wednesday.

The scene evolved in the Lake County courtroom in front of family members of the victims, who were surprised at the developments.

The plea offered to Robert E. Crimo III, 23, would have resulted in a life sentence.

Prosecutor Ben Dillon told Judge Victoria Rossetti that attorneys had discussed an agreement requiring Crimo to plead guilty to seven counts of first-degree murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.

As family members of people killed and others wounded in the mass shooting watched, Rossetti asked Crimo if the agreement described was what he discussed with his attorneys. Crimo remained silent before looking back at his parents seated in a front-row bench.

Defense attorneys Greg Ticsay and Anton Trizna briefly spoke with Crimo at the defense table before Rossetti suggested they go back into a private room. When they returned, the judge asked Crimo whether he wanted to go forward.

“No,” he responded.

Many in the full courtroom had hoped to give statements in court Wednesday and were left baffled by the abrupt change. One man held up a middle finger to Crimo’s parents as they exited the courtroom ahead of a private meeting that prosecutors held with victims.

After the hearing, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said his team met with the victims and families in support, calling it “necessary” after the hearing.

He said prosecutors will be ready for trial set for February and declined to answer questions since the case remains open.

Crimo’s public defenders left court without speaking with reporters. A message left at their office wasn’t immediately returned Wednesday.

Some of the family members spoke afterward.

“It’s hard, it’s hard, just to come in here and see the person that took my dad, it’s not something that you want to do,” said Karina Mendez, whose father Eduardo Uvaldo was killed.

The initial list of charges was 21 counts of first-degree murder — three counts for each person killed — as well as 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery.

But the criminal case has proceeded slowly. At one point, Crimo insisted he wanted to fire his public defenders and represent himself. He abruptly reversed that decision weeks later.


Dozens of people were wounded in the 2022 shooting in Highland Park. The wounded ranged in age from their 80s down to an 8-year-old boy who was left partially paralyzed.

Those killed in the attack were Katherine Goldstein, 64; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Stephen Straus, 88; Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78; and Eduardo Uvaldo, 69, and married couple Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35.

The McCarthys’ 2-year-old son was found alone at the scene and eventually reunited with extended family members.

All of them were from the Highland Park area except for Toledo-Zaragoza, who was visiting family in the city from Morelos, Mexico.

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