The father of Robert Crimo III, 58-year-old Robert Crimo Jr., has been indicted on seven counts of reckless conduct after his son went on a rampage that killed seven. Crimo Jr. has been charged with one count of reckless conduct for every death that occurred that day. However, the prosecution has not convicted him yet.
The grand jury process allows prosecutors to present a case without the defense present. Ultimately, a grand jury is composed of individuals who have only heard one side of the story. The effort is an attempt to convince the public that the effort of a trial is warranted. It shows the public that individuals hearing the complaints against the defendant agree with the prosecution’s interpretation of events. The grand jury voted to indict Crimo Jr. on seven counts of reckless conduct. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of three years, leaving Crimo Jr. vulnerable to a maximum 21-year sentence.
Is Crimo Jr. Responsible for His Son’s Conduct?
No. However, he is responsible for helping his son acquire the weapon he used to murder seven people. While a parent cannot be held accountable for the conduct of their children in most cases, this case is unique insofar as the father sponsored the son’s weapons permit. Hence, the sponsor can be held responsible if the sponsor makes false statements to the police, fails to report an incident that could be held against the petitioner, or other factors that subvert the government’s efforts to restrict gun access to at-risk individuals.
In this case, Crimo did have a history of law-enforcement interactions that were initiated by his own family in response to aberrant behavior with weapons. Hence, the father could be alleged to have had fair warning that his son would use the weapons to harm other people.
Parents are always going to be blindsided when their children do something unspeakable. No one is going to consider the possibility that their child is a mass shooter. The father probably thought training on a weapon would give his son more confidence. This is a question of culpable negligence, and with culpable negligence, you have a standard that is below intentional malice and above simple negligence. It’s hard for prosecutors to convince a jury that the arbitrary barrier they set on culpability rises beyond simple negligence.
Nonetheless, everyone wants to crucify the parents every time there’s a mass shooting. There aren’t enough people to satisfy the ire of the public. So, rage spills over into others.
In this case, prosecutors have a strong case for culpable negligence, a jury pool that wants to convict, and a father who can’t explain why he purchased a gun for his son.
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