John Schultz IV
John Schultz IV
ROCHESTER — Three witnesses testified in the first day of a jury trial for a man who allegedly plotted a Columbine-type massacre in Fulton County.

John Lawrence Schultz IV, 20, Rochester, is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, both Level 2 felonies; and possession of methamphetamine, possession of a narcotic drug and two counts of intimidation, all Level 6 felonies.

In Indiana, a Level 2 felony is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Schultz's attorneys are Joseph Bauer and Paul Namie, Highland. Representing the state are Fulton County Prosecutor Michael Marrs and Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rachel Arndt.

Schultz's co-defendant, Donald Victor Robin Jr., 19, was sentenced in March 2021 to 17 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder. Nine years of Robin's sentence was suspended on probation. Robin is incarcerated in the Westville Correctional Facility with an estimated release date of Dec. 30, 2026. As part of his plea agreement, Robin has agreed to cooperate with the state on testifying during Schultz's jury trial.

Schultz initially took his case to trial in July 2021. However, after about seven hours of deliberation, a 12-person jury came to an impasse in reaching a verdict; this resulted in a mistrial.

According to court documents, 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."

The informant visited Schultz and Robin several times and saw them smoking methamphetamine during their conversations. They also said the two always played music from the Columbine massacre and sang songs about it. The informant told officers they hadn't seen guns but "knew they had a lot of them and bragged about them." They said Schultz and Robin were getting ready for the massacre "because they are going to kill as many as they can and kill themselves just like Columbine."

The Columbine shooting on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., happened after two teens went on a shooting spree, killing 13 people and wounding more than 20 others, before turning their guns on themselves and committing suicide.

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. One post also referenced the song "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster The People.

Officers also found information that on July 15, 2020, Schultz and Robin changed their names on Facebook Messenger to Columbine massacre references. Pictures of tattoos on Schultz and Robin were also discovered. The tattoo on Schultz's arm is of a shotgun similar to one Eric Harris used in the Columbine shooting.

Jury selection took place in Miami County Circuit Court on Jan. 28, and 12 jurors were selected at that time. The trial, which was initially scheduled to begin Jan. 31, was moved to Monday due to the winter storm. Two alternates from Fulton County were then selected to serve on Feb. 1.

The jury trial is also being livestreamed. Jurors are seated in the gallery of Fulton Circuit Court while media representatives are seated in the jury box during the trial.

In his opening statement, Marrs told the jury that there was an active plan by both Schultz and Robin to massacre students in Fulton County. The state is alleging that both Rochester and Caston schools were affected by the plots. He said the state would prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Schultz committed all six crimes he is charged with.

"This is about two individuals planning to commit a school shooting," said Marrs. "It isn't Columbine, or Parkland, or Sandy Hook. It was stopped here, but that doesn't make it any less of a crime. They researched (school shootings), acquired items, performed reconnaissance. What has happened here is still a crime."

Bauer argued that Schultz's case is not a Columbine case, but one about mental health and drugs. He emphasized the importance of the state proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Schultz committed the crimes he is charged with. Bauer said if state testing labs report that items found on Schultz's person the day of his arrest were drugs, then "so be it."

"We're here to hold the government to its standards, and not to change the law," said Bauer. "We're not here to bash police, but to hold the state to its burden."

Bauer also argued the state is alleging physical evidence obtained for the case is enough to prove conspiracy to commit murder.

"The schools had no knowledge of these threats, they were not evacuated," said Bauer. "There were no explosives, no blueprints. The so-called items the state has acquired are irrelevant to any murder plan. There was no intelligent, deliberate plan ... nothing that will lead to the conclusion that the two had a plan. If there is question, there is doubt."

Following opening statements, the state began its case by calling Fulton County Sheriff's Office Det. Sgt. Travis Heishman for testimony. Heishman used Cellebrite, a digital data analysis tool, to extract data from a cellphone belonging to Robin. The extraction took place in September 2021. Heishman said he did the analysis for Rochester Police Detective Matt Campbell, but did not read over or study any of the data.

Campbell was then called for testimony. He said police received a report from one of Schultz's relatives about Schultz and Robin planning to commit a school shooting. Exhibits from Schultz's and Robin's public Facebook profiles were submitted as evidence, including a photo collage with Columbine shooter Eric Harris at the top of it and a post with the lyrics from "Pumped Up Kicks.”

The state submitted dozens of exhibits in its case while questioning Campbell, including photos of Schultz and Robin together and a post that Schultz shared with a quote from Dylan Klebold. Photos from Robin's and Schultz's homes and rooms were also admitted. In pictures of Schultz's room, several names and quotes were written on the walls; many of the quotes referenced the Columbine shooting. Some of the quotes were, "Columbine will fall because of us,” "Reb's Room" and "school shooters only." Crude pictures of guns were also found in Schultz's room.

Several hats from Schultz's and Robin's homes, as well as trench coats, a tactical belt and a painted helium tank, were all submitted as physical evidence. The hats had many words and abbreviations scrawled on them such as "NBK" (Natural Born Killers), "REB" and "Wrath," the latter two being Columbine references. The helium tank also had Columbine references painted onto it.

Pictures extracted from Robin's cellphone showed a progression of writing beginning to form on the walls in Schultz's room. A still shot from a video taken in March 2020 shows Schultz wearing a smart watch projecting the date of April 20, 1999.

Videos from Robin's phone were also submitted into evidence. One of the videos showed Schultz and Robin singing "Pumped Up Kicks." A second video showed an item dressed in Schultz's room to look like a Columbine shooter, with Robin narrating in the video about what the item was wearing.

In cross-examination, Namie asked if officers found any guns or explosives while executing arrest warrants at Schultz's and Robin's homes. Campbell said there was not. When asked if any seating charts, photographs or blueprints for Rochester or Caston Schools were discovered, Campbell again answered in the negative.

Campbell was also asked by the defense about a list of names written on a wall in Schultz's room. He told Namie that he was unsure if the list could be viewed as a threat and also said it could not be determined who wrote what words or sayings in Schultz's room. Campbell also said schools in Fulton County were not evacuated on Aug. 4, 2020, which was the first day of school. However, he was told some parents decided to keep their children home.

The state then called Robin for testimony.

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 due to bullying, Robin recalled using drugs 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 court he and Schultz watched a documentary on Columbine in April 2020 while "spun out on drugs." He said the two began comparing themselves to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold; Robin noted they really focused on Columbine because "there was so much information out there, so much fandom behind it."

Robin said he and Schultz began to "develop fantasies of how to do a school shooting." They looked explicitly at creating the "highest death toll they could with huge explosives."

Schultz and Robin 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.

Robin also recalled stealing a helium tank from a local business and visiting stores to look for parts to make bombs. He also told the jury Schultz stole a propane tank from a local apartment complex so the two could experiment with it to create a bomb. Robin said the two targeted Rochester and Caston schools in their plan. He told the court they both were bullied during their time at Rochester High School and viewed attacking Caston 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 since Schultz had poor internet connection. The pair also drove by Caston a couple times and around Rochester High School as part of their research.

In regards to the writing in Schultz's room, Robin said he watched Schultz create the writing. Robin said he was up for four days while in a drug-induced state and witnessed Schultz write on the walls. Robin said if the pair hadn't been arrested, the two would have continued planning a massacre.

Schultz's trial will continue at 9 a.m. today in Fulton Circuit Court, with the defense cross-examining Robin. After Robin's testimony, the state is expected to continue its case with additional witnesses.