(Ken Silva, Headline USA) The father of the suspect in a deadly Fourth of July parade shooting in suburban Chicago turned himself in Wednesday to begin a 60-day jail sentence, but not before letting the court know what he thinks about being railroaded into a plea deal.
Robert Crimo Jr. entered a guilty plea to seven misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct last week in Lake County court, in Waukegan, Illinois.
As Headline USA reported at the time, Crimo Jr.’s only “crime” was cosigning his then-19-year-old son’s firearms license application nearly three years before the son allegedly went on his July 4 rampage.
However, prosecutors subpoenaed a Crimo family member to testify against the father last weekend, right before his trial was set to begin. Prosecutors had already subpoenaed suspect Robert Crimo III’s younger brother, and Crimo Jr.’s lawyer said he entered the plea deal to prevent the case from destroying his family further.
But Crimo Jr. made it known what he thinks about the dirty tactics employed against his family, arriving Monday at the Lake County courthouse wearing a white T-shirt with large black letters reading: “I’m A Political Pawn.” The back said: “LAWS, FACTS, REALITY.”
He turned it inside out before entering the courtroom, but the judge threatened to hold him in contempt of court if he violated court rules again, according to his lawyer, George Gomez, who said he did not know what his client’s shirt meant.
A court decorum order for the case prohibits any spectator from wearing or displaying a message that could affect the orderly administration of proceedings.
Judge George Strickland on Nov. 6 sentenced Crimo Jr. to 60 days in jail, two years of probation and 100 hours of community service, but agreed to wait until Wednesday to take him into custody.
Illinois offers most misdemeanor offenders the opportunity to reduce their sentence by half for good behavior, meaning Crimo Jr. may only serve 30 days.
Although jail time will be brief, the case is significant due to its implications for gun rights.
The judge also ordered Crimo Jr. to surrender his gun license and ammunition, and banned the former mayoral candidate from sponsoring firearm applications for minors.
Crimo III faces 21 first-degree murder counts, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery. Prosecutors say he admitted he was the gunman when he was arrested hours after the shooting in Highland Park. A trial date is expected to be set on Dec. 11.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.