KATHLEEN FOODY and MICHAEL TARM

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) -- The man accused of killing seven people and wounding dozens more in a shooting at an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago pleaded not guilty on Wednesday, a week after prosecutors announced he faces 117 felony counts in the attack.

Robert E. Crimo III appeared for a brief hearing Wednesday in Lake County’s circuit court to enter a formal plea to the charges — 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery representing those killed and wounded during the parade in Highland Park.

Crimo wore a COVID-19 face mask throughout the 10-minute arraignment and repeatedly told Judge Victoria Rossetti that he understood the charges and potential penalties he faces, including life imprisonment.

As Crimo shuffled into court, chains around his ankles jangling, several relatives and friends of at least one victim turned to look at him from across the room, some keeping their eyes fixed on him throughout the hearing. 

Lake County prosecutors in late July announced that a grand jury had indicted Crimo on the charges.

The prosecutors had previously filed seven murder charges against the 21-year-old in the days following the shooting.