John Schultz IV
John Schultz IV
ROCHESTER — After a jury deliberated for about eight hours, the state of Indiana, John Lawrence Schultz IV and Schultz's defense attorneys agreed to a resolution for the case.

Schultz, 20, Rochester, signed a plea agreement on Thursday. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder, a Level 2 felony. Through the plea agreement, five additional criminal charges Schultz was facing will be dismissed.

The conspiracy to commit murder was amended to read that Schultz did conspire with Donald Victor Robin Jr., 19, the co-defendant in this case, to commit a school shooting at Rochester Community High School.

Schultz's sentencing is set for 3:30 p.m. March 7 in Fulton Circuit Court.

Prior to Schultz taking a plea, the jury was summoned into the court and thanked for their service.

Closing Statements

The final day of Schultz’s jury trial began in Fulton Circuit Court with closing arguments from Fulton County Prosecutor Michael Marrs and defense attorney Paul Namie.

In his closing statement, Marrs emphasized the importance of the jury being firmly convinced with determining verdicts on each charge. He argued that Schultz conspired with Robin to commit murder at local schools by doing research and acquiring items.

“It was stopped, this conspiracy was foiled,” said Marrs. “But it’s no less of a crime. Both need to be held accountable.”

He listed 15 overt acts the state argues Schultz and Robin did together, including stealing helium and propane tanks to make into bombs, creating hats with Columbine references written on them, researching topics like how to conceal weapons in trench coats and a “hit list” of names on Schultz’s bedroom wall of people who were Rochester High School students at the time of Schultz’s arrest.

Marrs also focused on a social media conversation between Schultz and Jared Carter, a friend, in which Schultz said, “We’re going to shoot up a school.” He argued the threat was enough to interfere with the occupancy of Rochester and Caston Schools since law enforcement discovered the message and alerted school officials.

“There was interest, talk, overt acts,” said Marrs. “But are we really going to argue that if they (Schultz and Robin) didn’t go into the schools with guns, that it was just talk, that that’s not a crime? The two got tattoos of stuff the Columbine shooters said before they shot students in the face point-blank. That’s sick, sick stuff.”

Marrs then focused on Schultz’s testimony and replayed video exhibits for the jury.

“He’s really going to say this was all a joke?” said Marrs. “That’s convenient when you’re caught.”

In his closing statements, Namie argued that the entire case was only talk, and that Schultz did not take any actions to plan a school shooting.

"No ammunition, guns or bombs were acquired," said Namie. "They didn't have the weapons to do it. The state has never been able to produce one single gun, bomb or violent materials as physical evidence. All the physical evidence in this courtroom, none of that can actually harm anyone."

Namie also focused on Schultz's background, reminding the jury about Schultz's non-typical family life and frequent drug use.

"The only escape he could find was through getting high," said Namie.

Hats and trench coats acquired by Schultz and Robin were also discussed.

"If I were to sit here and have Johnny put on this 'school shooter outfit,' he's not anymore of a threat to you then than he is sitting here right now," said Namie. "It's not a crime to wear any of these garments. Talking about doing something is not an action."

Namie argued the state failed to produce any physical evidence of Rochester or Caston schools being named anywhere other than an appearance in a demonstrative exhibit created by the state. He also asked the jury to focus on testimony from Robin.

"He (Robin) testified to you that he was afraid of the state's 'overwhelming evidence' against him," said Namie. "But in a letter for his sentencing, Donny said he 'never had any intentions to hurt somebody.' What has been described as a 'vague plan' during Robin's change of plea has evolved into a more specific plan after his arrest. And you have to believe Donny's testimony to believe overt acts were committed."

Namie concluded by saying the state wants the jury to believe what Robin said during the trial but not what was said in his deposition, and to not believe Schultz's testimony.

In rebuttal argument for the state, Marrs elaborated on what actions both Robin and Schultz took together to plan a school shooting.

"I feel bad about Johnny's bad childhood and drug problems," said Marrs. "But there are thousands and thousands of kids out there, dealing with similar issues. And they're not out there planning to shoot up a school, to kill people."

He also argued that Schultz's testimony during the trial was rehearsed, stating that Schultz provided quick answers to any questions that were asked of him by the defense.

"They're trying to minimize what he did," said Marrs.

Following closing statements, the jury entered deliberations around 10:45 a.m. Around 7 p.m., Fulton Circuit Court Judge Christopher Lee announced the parties in the case had reached a resolution. After the jury was dismissed, Schultz signed a plea agreement