PEKIN, Ill. — The father of the man accused of killing four people at a Waffle House in Tennessee last year pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges related to the gun used in the shooting.
Jeffrey Reinking is accused of giving an AR-15-style rifle to his 30-year-old son, Travis Reinking, who authorities said used it in Nashville on April 22, 2018.
The elder Reinking contends he was never owner of the gun and had sought the advice of the Tazewell County Sheriff's Department on whether to return the gun to his son. In a filing with the court, his lawyers contend Jeffrey Reinking talked to the sheriff's department several times and at no time was he told the guns should be kept away from Travis Reinking.
"The defendant is not guilty because the people cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant made a gift or sale of a firearm, and Jeffrey L. Reinking was never the owner of the firearm in question," defense attorney Joel E. Brown contends in the filing. "At all times the firearm was owned by Travis Reinking."
Several guns were returned to Travis Reinking in November 2017, despite the father being aware that his son had been a patient shortly before at the Methodist Medical Center of Illinois Mental Health Unit, according to the charges.
The weapons were taken from the younger Reinking in mid-2017 when his Illinois firearm owner's identification card was revoked because he had moved to Colorado. The Tazewell County Sheriff's Department placed them in Jeffrey Reinking's care.
The older Reinking has posted bond and faces up to three years in prison and a fine, if convicted.
The younger Reinking was a one-time crane operator who moved across multiple states and suffered from delusions, sometimes talking about plans to marry singer Taylor Swift, friends and relatives told authorities. He was detained by the Secret Service in July 2017 after venturing into a forbidden area on the White House grounds and demanding to meet President Donald Trump.
Travis Reinking is being held without bond on first-degree murder charges.
The Tennessean in Nashville reported that the family of Akilah DaSilva, one of the people killed in the Waffle House shooting, has settled the portion of their $20 million lawsuit affecting Jeffrey Reinking. The settlement amount is unknown.