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Parade shooting suspect pleads not guilty to 117 charges

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Robert E. Crimo III, 21, has pleaded not guilty to 117 charges in the Fourth of July parade shooting that killed seven people and injured dozens of others in Highland Park, Ill. Photo courtesy of City of Highland Park Police Department/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/149ac9c9b0cbad863c83c7aa87d1622d/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Robert E. Crimo III, 21, has pleaded not guilty to 117 charges in the Fourth of July parade shooting that killed seven people and injured dozens of others in Highland Park, Ill. Photo courtesy of City of Highland Park Police Department/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 3 (UPI) -- The suspect accused of shooting and killing seven people and injuring dozens more at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill., has pleaded not guilty to 117 criminal charges.

Attorneys for Robert E. Crimo III, who was wearing a dark blue jumpsuit and face mask with his hands shackled to a belt, entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment Wednesday in Lake County.

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Judge Victoria Rosetti read each of the charges and asked Crimo, 21, whether he understood the case against him to which he answered "yes."

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to return to court for a case management conference November 1.

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Crimo was indicted two weeks ago and faces three counts of first-degree murder for each victim who died, as well as 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm for each victim injured by a bullet or shrapnel.

Crimo is being held without bond and faces life in prison if convicted on at least two of the murder charges.

Crimo was arrested several hours after the Independence Day shooting and confessed to firing more than 80 rounds into the parade crowd from a nearby rooftop.

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While prosecutors have offered no motive, authorities believe Crimo had planned the mass shooting for weeks. They said he dressed as a woman on the day of the attack and wore makeup to hide his facial tattoos to blend in with the crowd.

Prosecutors said officers were able to identify Crimo from still images taken from surveillance cameras in the area after the shooting.

Surveillance video shows Crimo dropping a rifle, which was recovered by police and traced back to Crimo who had purchased it in 2020 when he was 19. Crimo was granted a permit for the weapon and passed four background checks in 2020 and 2021.

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Police found a second rifle inside his mother's vehicle, which he was driving when he was taken into custody.

Crimo's parents, Robert Crimo, Jr. and Denise Pesina, attended Wednesday's hearing but did not speak with reporters. Their attorney, George Gomez, said they "are in shock" at the possibility of a life sentence for their son.

"In hindsight they deeply regret the actions their son had taken," Gomez said. "They're heartbroken by what happened in that tragic event. They're here to express their sorrows."

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