Does Illinois have the death penalty? Here's what sort of sentence Robert Crimo could get

Does Illinois have the death penalty? Here's what sort of sentence Robert Crimo could get
Robert Crimo as seen in the mugshot after his arrest for gunning down 7 people and injuring several others at a July 4 parade in Highland Park (FBI)

Robert E Crimo III, the 22-year-old who has been suspected of mass shooting which ended up killing seven people on a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park of suburban Chicago, Illinois has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder. And if convicted, he will face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The Independent quoted Illinois states attorney Eric Reinhart as saying that the first-degree murder charges would be followed by dozens of additional charges before the investigation is over and further added that the community of Highland Park would “never be the same” and promised the charges were just “the first of many”. The attorney said he would ask that Crimo remain held in custody without bail at the suspect's first court appearance, scheduled for Wednesday, July 6.


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Highland Park parade mass shooting

About 10.15 am on July 4, Crimo aimed the AR-15-like rifle at strangers at Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade. The young gunman fired more than 70 times, and struck roughly 45 individuals, as per reports. Soon after unleashing chaos and death he was hunted down and was taken into custody by evening on the same day of the attack after someone spotted his getaway car, a Honda Fit in a nearby suburb and called 911. Another rifle was found in the car and other firearms from his home. According to the police official, the weapons were purchased legally by Crimo in the Chicago region.

FBI agents work the scene of a shooting at a Fourth of July parade on July 5 in Highland Park, Illinois (Photo by Jim Vondruska/Getty Images)

Considering he has been slapped with first-degree murder charges, will he be given a death penalty? This brings us to the question:

Does Illinois have the death penalty?

Almost a decade ago, Illinois abolished the death penalty, by then-Governor Pat Quinn, in 2011. As per Death Penalty Information Centre, the death penalty was a major issue in the 2010 election. The election of Democrat Quinn paved the way for votes on a bill to abolish the death penalty in the Illinois House and Senate, and on March 9, 2011, the governor signed legislation that made Illinois the 16th state to abolish the death penalty.

However, the Brendt Christensen's case, which involved the kidnapping and killing of the Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang in 2017, became the first federal death-penalty trial in Illinois since it abolished capital punishment. US District Court Judge James Shadid described the Christensen's crime as a rare instance of the Department of Justice seeking the death penalty in one of the more than 20 states that don't have capital punishment, drawing on US laws that allow executions by federal authorities for exceptional crimes. A 12-person jury deliberated for more than eight hours over the course of two days in Peoria’s federal courthouse, but failed to reach a common decision in the death-penalty case. Instead, the judge officially imposed a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of release.

Will Crimo's case reach the outcome? Considering the outrage and fear his actions have evoked this could be a hotly debated issue. 

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