By Liz Shepherd
ROCHESTER — A Rochester teen will serve eight years in prison after plotting a Columbine-type massacre in Fulton County.
Donald Victor Robin Jr., 18, Rochester, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, a level 2 felony. Three additional criminal charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Robin was sentenced in Fulton Circuit Court on Monday, March 8.
According to a police report, the Rochester Police Department was notified by an anonymous informant on July 13, 2020, that “Johnny Schultz IV and some friends are planning a school massacre…they have a bunch of guns and they are waiting for school to open to ‘kill a bunch of kids.'”
The informant visited Schultz and Robin several times and saw them smoking methamphetamine during their conversations.
Dating back to May 12, 2020, Schultz posted several veiled threats on his two Facebook pages, including a graphic of a partial skeleton and a photo collage with an image of Columbine shooter Eric Harris.
Robin’s Facebook page featured a photo of Harris’s accomplice, Dylan Klebold, shooting a gun. Schultz and Robin were Facebook friends and exchanged messages about their plans beginning April 20, 2020, the 21st anniversary of the Columbine shooting.
In an Aug. 6, 2019, message exchange, Robin wrote “I wish I could kill as many people as I could” and said such a massacre was “something that I actually had an itch for when I used to go to school.”
Before that, on June 28, 2019, Robin wrote, “Believe me, I’m a psychopath, and I’d love to be a murderer.”
He admitted at one point to taking steps to shoot up Rochester Middle School, explaining he had placed an AR-15 and 12 loaded magazines in a duffel bag, planning to kill “100 or more people,” including “innocent kids, friends, best friends and all of the teachers” before killing himself.
Robin concluded the endeavor was too risky because of the school’s new security system. In an Aug. 18, 2019, message he said he would wear an outfit similar to those worn by the Columbine shooters.
Robin also made Internet searches of “quotes school shooting” and “school shootings” and commented about shooting up Caston and Rochester High Schools, various festivals and black churches; he also said he dreamed of shooting up an airport.
For his sentencing, Robin appeared in court wearing a dark dress shirt, dress pants and a necklace with a cross attached to it. His hair was clean cut and he answered his attorney’s questions with a calm demeanor.
Defense Attorney Cindi Andrews asked Robin questions related to his education, family and previous drug use.
Robin said he attended Rochester Community Schools but that he never graduated from high school. He described feeling anxious and pressured while at school and said he was bullied “sometimes, not most of the time.” Robin said he intends on getting his GED and taking college classes, expressing an interest in repairing computers and becoming a computer specialist.
Since bonding out of jail, Robin has been on in-home detention with electronic monitoring for six months. Release conditions for Robin’s in-home detention included having no contact with Schultz and being banned from Internet access.
Robin said the release conditions helped him “bring himself together.”
“It really made me think about my future and how what I did was unacceptable,” said Robin.
Robin told those present in court that during his detention, he’s been constantly studying for his GED and increased his bond with his parents.
He also admitted to having a methamphetamine problem and that he began using the drug at the age of 16.
“That led me to make really bad decisions and lie to my family, to my community,” said Robin.
Andrews asked Robin about a tattoo he got with Schultz. The tattoo in question was a gun with the quote “Do you believe in God?,” words spoken by one of the Columbine shooters prior to killing a student.
Robin said he decided to get the tattoo covered up. The cover-up tattoo is the word “family.”
“Family means the most to me,” said Robin. “I wanted to get something meaningful to replace something so ugly.”
To conclude his testimony, Robin read a letter aloud to the court, apologizing to the community, courts and police for his actions. In his letter, Robin described himself as a follower who was manipulated and influenced by drugs.
“That person wasn’t truly who I was,” said Robin. “What I did was not acceptable.”
Toward the end of his letter, Robin became emotional and said he “never wanted to hurt anyone.”
Robin’s parents testified in court, each focusing on their son’s growth and sobriety while being electronically monitored.
“I would never give up faith in my son,” said Donald Robin Sr., Robin’s father. “Our family has bonded together now more than ever. Our family has worked together making goals and growing spiritually.”
Robin Sr. said he never knew about Robin’s drug use prior to charges being filed.
“This is what happens when we hang around with a loser crowd,” said Robin Sr. about his son’s actions.
Darlene Reagan, Robin’s mother, said she became aware of her son’s methamphetamine use when he was 17. She noted a “great change” in Robin’s behavior since he became sober.
“He’s been a good child,” said Reagan. “This isn’t his character.”
In his statement to the court, Fulton County Prosecutor Michael Marrs said the state had every reason to believe Robin and Schultz were going to commit a school shooting.
“We unfortunately live in a world where people do carry out these acts,” said Marrs. “We believed they were going to do it. They talked about it a lot.”
Marrs mentioned Schultz and Robin’s tattoos with Columbine quotes, as well as Robin’s attempt to go to a pawn shop to obtain firearms. He said Robin has agreed to cooperate with the state on testifying during Schultz’s jury trial as part of his plea agreement. Marrs requested Fulton Circuit Court Judge Christopher Lee give Robin the eight-year executed cap on the sentence as mentioned in the plea agreement.
Defense Attorney Cindi Andrews listed Robin’s age and family support as mitigators in the case.
“He was still a juvenile when this happened,” said Andrews. “A juvenile mind is different than an adult mind.”
Andrews also focused on Robin not graduating from high school and using methamphetamine, connecting the two to Robin’s decision-making.
“There’s been a huge change in his outlook, mind, body since being clean,” said Andrews. “His family is here to do whatever the court asks. He is remorseful for everything he did, said, posted on social media.”
Andrews said Robin would not benefit from prison and that rehabilitation should be a key part of Robin’s sentence.
“This is unforgivable, but I still see him as a child,” said Andrews.
For conspiracy to commit murder, Judge Lee sentenced Robin to 17 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections, with nine years of the sentence suspended.
“This was more than just talk,” said Judge Lee. “You took some actions. You attempted to get a gun. That alone jumps out at me. Thank goodness someone came forward and alerted authorities.”
For his probation, Robin must continue following the same release conditions that he did for electronic home monitoring. These include:
- Not residing within 1,000 feet of property owned by Rochester Community Schools or Caston Schools.
- Not possessing or being in the presence of firearms.
- Having no contact with Schultz, as well as with administration, staff or students at Rochester Community and Caston Schools.
- Not viewing or using social media.
- Not having Internet access.
Following sentencing, Robin was remanded to the custody of the Fulton County Sheriff.
The second teen involved in this case, John Lawrence Schultz IV, 19, 630 W. 6th St., Rochester, is currently taking his case to jury trial, which is set for June.