Robert Cremo, the Highland Park shooting suspect, was appointed as public defender after his parents appointed a high-ranking attorney—whose clients include R. Kelly—to represent them.
Cremo first appeared in court on seven counts of murder on Wednesday, two days after he opened fire at a Fourth of July parade in a Chicago suburb.
Cremo appeared via Zoom from Lake County Jail, speaking only once to state that he does not have a private attorney. Judge Theodore Botkonjak then suspended the hearing and ordered him to go to a private meeting with Public Defender Gregory Teksay.
Minutes later, confusion arose when special defense attorney Tom Dworkin—who had indicated the night before he would represent Cremo—attempted to join the Zoom meeting.
When he finally got in, Mr. Dworkin explained that he had to step down from the case due to an unspecified conflict of interest. It was then agreed that Mr. Ticsay would represent Mr. Crimo in the future.
Judge Botkoncak ordered Karimo to be held without bail, calling him a “threat to society”.
Ahead of the hearing, it was revealed that Cremo’s parents Bob Cremo and Dennis Pessina had hired Chicago attorney Steve Greenberg to represent them.
Prosecutors have not indicated any intention to bring charges against the parents, but they have come under intense public scrutiny over their son’s cache of firearms.
Greenberg resisted critics via Twitter Wednesday morning, arguing that parents are being made scapegoats by “the system” when the focus should instead be on easy access to military-grade offensive weapons.
“The ‘system’ is trying to make this about parenting,” Greenberg wrote.
“The biggest question, which must be answered and answered, is why are military-grade assault weapons available for anyone to purchase?”
Authorities revealed on Tuesday that police officers were called to the family’s Highland Park home in September 2019 when 19-year-old Robert Cremo allegedly threatened to “kill everyone” inside.
They removed 16 knives, a sword and a dagger from the house but no charges were pressed and Mr. Cremo was not arrested.
Three months later, Robert Cremo obtained his first Firearms Owners Identification Card (FOID), under the auspices of his father, Bob Cremo, which was approved one month later in January 2020.
Police said 21-year-old Krimo legally purchased a cache of firearms, including a high-powered assault rifle used in Monday’s deadly attack.
Greenberg announced that Bob Cremo and Denis Pessina kept them on Tuesday night.
He said the parents are cooperating “1,000%” with law enforcement.
“However, it is important to know that the Illinois State Police renewed the gun card when their son turned 21, long before that without any interference from his father,” he said on Twitter.
“Parents share everyone’s desire to find out everything that went wrong so that it never happens again, to more innocent people, children and families.”
independent I have sought comment from Mr. Greenberg.
In a statement, the suspect’s parents offered “thoughts and prayers” after Robert Cremo was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder.
“We are all mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, and this is a terrible tragedy for so many families, victims, optimists, the community, and us,” they said in a statement released by Mr. Greenberg.
“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to all.”
The statement came as a video surfaced allegedly showing Denis Pessina angrily confronting the SWAT team in the aftermath of the shooting.
In the shots he got CBS Newsthe mother was seen yelling and pointing to officers on McDaniels Street in Highland Park on Monday, as she had a massive chase for her son.
It is unclear what caused the confrontation, but the network reported that Ms. Pesina was in contact with police for several hours after the shooting at the Independence Day parade.
It also emerged that a Pesina-owned company had a mailbox at a UPS store just a few blocks from the scene of Monday’s shooting.
CBS News reports that police have put the UPS store under closure, and no one has been able to enter the store since Monday.