John Schultz IV
John Schultz IV
ROCHESTER — A Rochester man will serve three years on probation after plotting a Columbine-type massacre in Rochester.

If he violates any of his rules of probation, Schultz can potentially serve up to 18 years in prison.

John Lawrence Schultz IV, 20, of 630 W. 6th St., Rochester, was initially 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. All charges, except one conspiracy to commit murder count, were dismissed as part of Schultz's plea agreement.

Schultz 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.

He then took his case to trial again in February. After the jury deliberated for nearly eight hours, the state of Indiana, Schultz and Schultz's attorneys agreed to a resolution for the case.

Schultz signed a plea agreement on Feb. 10, pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder. The plea was accepted and Schultz was sentenced in Fulton Circuit Court on Monday.

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.

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 turing 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 very similar to one Eric Harris used in the Columbine shooting.

During court proceedings, Defense Attorney Joseph Bauer, one of two attorneys who has represented Schultz in his case, said the plea agreement was "fitting" for Schultz.

"This case surprised us all," said Bauer. "To have a kid charged with conspiracy to commit murder is shocking. He's faced two jury trials and toward the end, he had enough."

Bauer said Schultz agreed to a plea when the second jury was taking over eight hours to deliberate.

Bauer also argued that Schultz was not the instigator in this case, but that Robin was. He argued points he made in the jury trials about the case being about drugs and mental health since Day One.

"He's thrived in jail because of the structure," said Bauer. "This kid has completely changed since I met him ... his personality, physicality, everything about him has changed. He has gained a lot of respect for people and understands he did wrong, he knows that."

Bauer requested Fulton Circuit Court Judge Christopher Lee reconsider three of the rules Schultz must follow during probation, all of which relate to internet use. He argued that internet use is necessary in daily life and that Schultz did not commit any illegal activities online.

Schultz did not provide a statement in court.

Lee said he did not put any weight on Schultz's "petty thefts and drug use" since there were no convictions on those issues. These matters were discussed throughout Schultz's trials. He ruled that Schultz and Robin's plan to commit murders of many students was a significant aggravator in the case. Lee also described Schultz as having a "tragic upbringing" with no supervision; he ruled that as a mitigator.

For conspiracy to commit murder, Schultz will serve three years on probation. He has 566 days, or roughly 1-1/2 years, of jail time credit in the case. If Schultz violates any of his rules of probation, he could potentially serve up to 18 years in the Indiana Department of Correction.

Schultz's rules of probation 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 Robin, as well as with administration, staff or students at Rochester Community and Caston Schools.

* Complete his GED.

The issues with Schultz's internet usage were taken under advisement. Schultz's probation will be through Fulton County's program; the defense had requested his probation be transferred to St. Joseph County in Michigan, as Schultz will be moving out of Rochester.

"We got to the point where we had a hung jury the first time, 11 to one guilty," said Fulton County Prosecutor Michael Marrs after Schultz's sentencing. "Second time around, the jury was hung again, six to six, which means it was extremely likely that it would remain hung. Our biggest fear was that (Johnny) would get acquitted and walk away while Donny Robin is serving time and doing a DOC sentence. The advisory sentence on a Level 2 felony is 17-1/2 years. The judge enhanced that since they were conspiring to murder not just a person, but many students, and enhanced it to 19-1/2 years. He's released to probation for three years, with a lot of restrictions. If he does anything to violate those rules in that three-year period, probation will be revoked and the judge can either modify the probation, modify and add terms or conditions or he could revoke probation entirely and he could face about 18 years in prison. He's got an opportunity to turn things around, but he also has a lot hanging over his head if he doesn't fly straight for the next three years."

"I believe it's a just and fair outcome," said Bauer. "I met Johnny back in July 2020, he was a totally different man than what he is now. The facts of this case support the plea. It means a new start. Johnny gets a second chance at life. He gets to go past the mental health and drug problems he's faced, and he gets that help and structure he needs. There is no threat to the public anymore. This kid isn't going down a dark path. He knows what's at stake.”