By Liz Shepherd
ROCHESTER — A teen sentenced to 17 years in prison for plotting a Columbine-type massacre testified against his co-defendant in the second day of a jury trial in Fulton County.
John Lawrence Schultz IV, 19, 630 W. Sixth St., Rochester, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder, a level 2 felony; and intimidation and possession of methamphetamine, both level 6 felonies.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Schultz’s jury trial is being live streamed.
The state continued its case on Tuesday, July 27, by calling four additional witnesses. One of the witnesses who testified for the state was Donald Victor Robin Jr., 18. Robin was sentenced in March to 17 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder. Nine years of Robin’s sentence was suspended. Robin is currently incarcerated in the Westville Correctional Facility with an estimated release year of 2026.
As part of his plea agreement, Robin agreed to cooperate with the state on testifying during Schultz’s jury trial.
Robin said he attended Rochester High School until ninth grade and that he left due to bullying.
In his testimony, Robin said he knew Schultz since elementary school and became closer to him as they got older. After dropping out of high school, Robin recalled using marijuana and methamphetamine with Schultz on a frequent basis. He said they typically used drugs at Schultz’s home because there was more leniency there versus the Robin residence.
Robin told the jury he showed Schultz a documentary on Columbine sometime in March or April 2020. He said the two gravitated toward the documentary because of how it re-enacted the shooting.
“He took the idea and ran with it,” said Robin, about plotting a massacre.
Robin said Schultz began comparing himself to Eric Harris and Robin to Dylan Klebold based on their physical appearances. Harris and Klebold are the Columbine shooters. He said the two had also searched other school shootings such as Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and Parkland, admiring the latter because of its higher death toll.
A majority of Robin’s testimony focused on the details of the April 20, 1999, Columbine shooting. Robin stated several facts about the shooting, from what the shooters wore to what they said to people prior to killing them. He said they discussed replicating Columbine and the aspects they liked about it, such as how the shooters taunted their victims and how the shooting was set up.
“We believed we were their (Klebold and Harris’) revenge so we could do something like they did,” said Robin on replicating Columbine. “We wanted to just go in and kill as many people as we could.”
While Robin prioritized being a “Columbine copycat,” he said Schultz wanted the shooting to be unique and his own style while creating “the highest death count.”
Schultz and Robin also disagreed on when the shooting should take place, according to Robin’s testimony. Robin wanted it to happen toward the end of the school year like Columbine while Schultz allegedly wanted it at the beginning of the year. Robin said Schultz wanted it that way so people would know for the rest of the school year what he did.
Fulton County Prosecutor Michael Marrs questioned Robin on the clothing and materials the two had acquired, including trench coats, hats with Columbine phrases painted on them and a helium tank. Robin said he got a trench coat from his mother in 2019 and that it was initially for just cosmetic purposes, but that its purpose changed later on. He said Schultz frequently borrowed a trench coat from a relative.
Robin also recalled stealing a helium tank from a local business alongside Schultz while being “high on meth” at the time. He elaborated on the number of stores the two visited to look for parts to make bombs. Robin told the jury Schultz also allegedly stole a propane tank from a local apartment complex so the two could experiment with it to create a bomb.
When asked specifically what schools the pair targeted, Robin said they had their eyes set on Rochester and Caston High Schools. He described Rochester High as a “place of torment” and said Schultz “hated that place, hated the people.” Robin also said the two viewed attacking Caston High School as an “opportunity” due to its location, saying that it would have taken time for emergency units to respond and that a lot of damage could have been inflicted before they were stopped.
Robin said the two researched school shootings together but that they would go to Robin’s house for that because Schultz did not own a computer and had poor Internet connection.
A picture of one of Schultz’s bedroom walls was used as evidence for Robin to discuss. The wall contained a large list of names, five of which were Rochester High School students that Schultz allegedly hated, according to Robin. He said Schultz began writing on the walls while in a methamphetamine-induced state. Robin told the court he only wrote his own name on the wall and that no one else was involved in their plot.
“Columbine was a partnership, a friendship,” said Robin. “And we thought of each other as best friends. It was just us.”
In cross-examination, Defense Attorney Paul Namie pointed out several contradictions between what Robin said in his testimony to the jury and what he said in his deposition with Schultz’s lawyers.
Testimony: Robin said he only wrote one name on Schultz’s wall.
Deposition: Robin said he didn’t write any names on Schultz’s wall.
Testimony: Robin recalled one name written on the wall; the name was of a student that he knew Schultz hated.
Deposition: Robin said he didn’t know why the student’s name would be on the wall.
Testimony: Robin said he and Schultz stole a helium tank from a local business.
Deposition: Robin said they acquired an air tank from a house to blow up balloons.
Testimony: Robin said he and Schultz had plans to use propane tanks as bombs.
Deposition: Robin did not make any statements about using propane tanks as bombs.
Testimony: Robin said between May and July 2020, conversations with Schultz were 50/50 regarding discussions and actions on committing a school shooting.
Deposition: Robin said between May and July 2020, conversations with Schultz were mainly discussions on committing a school shooting.
In redirect, Marrs asked Robin about the deposition he gave to Schultz’s defense attorneys. Robin described both Namie and Defense Attorney Joseph Bauer as “bullies,” saying they were very targeting during the deposition. He said the reason his answers were different compared to the deposition is because he’s had time to sit and think about what occurred. Robin argued that he gave his deposition, which took place shortly after he was sentenced, in a “scrambled” state because of missing his family.
Jurors asked Robin several questions about what occurred, including if there was physical evidence that Schultz was with him when they were researching school shootings and if they talked over the phone about shootings. Robin said there was no physical evidence of Schultz being present during online research and that the two talked about shootings through Facebook Messenger call.
Prior to Robin’s testimony, the state had Rochester Police Department Detective Lieutenant Matt Campbell and Indiana State Police Forensic Scientist Melinda McNair testify about methamphetamine found in Schultz’s room when the search warrant was served in July 2020. Campbell said he collected the methamphetamine that was found and sent it to the state police lab for evaluation. McNair said her tests confirmed the substance was 3.25 grams of methamphetamine.
The state rested its case during mid-afternoon. Defense did not call any witnesses and Schultz did not testify; the defense also rested its case.
Schultz’s trial will continue at 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 28, with closing arguments, final instructions and jury deliberation.