John L Schultz IV was 18 when he and his cohort, then 17-year-old Donald V. Robin Jr., were arrested in 2020 for allegedly plotting an attack against area high schools in the Rochester, Indiana, area. As mentioned in previous posts, the pair were columbiners. This means they had an unhealthy fascination with the infamous Columbine school shooting. This included the pair getting Columbine-inspired tattoos.
In February of last year, Robin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and was later sentenced to 17-years behind bars with six years suspended. As part of Robin’s plea, he agreed to testify against Schultz. Before the jury could reach a verdict, Schultz also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder. If you think Schultz would receive a comparable sentence to Robin, you’d be mistaken.
Early last month, Schultz was sentenced to 19 years and 6 months in prison with time served for the 566 days he spent incarcerated while awaiting trial. The remainder of the sentence was suspended, and he was given three years probation. If he violates the terms of his probation, he could be sent to prison for 18 years. Under the terms of his probation, Schultz cannot be within 1000 feet of Rochester or Caston schools, he can’t be in possession of or in the presence of a firearm, he can’t have any contact with Robin or any school employees or students, and he has to complete his GED.
I’m extremely curious to know what the judge saw in Schultz that wasn’t seen in Robin to earn Schultz such a light sentence. From what I’ve read, both defendants seemed equally culpable in the plot. Yet, Robin is spending a good chunk of his life behind bars while Schultz gets to attend night classes.
I do not consider Schultz’s attorney as a neutral source; however, his attorney has said Schultz thrived in prison. Schultz is said to have responded well to the regimented structure. Supposedly Schultz has cleaned up his act, but it needs to be asked where he’s going to get that kind of structure on the outside? Will the terms of his probation be enough to provide that kind of structure? In fairness, it has been close to a month since he was sentenced, and I haven’t seen any news of additional trouble, so maybe it has. Also, I can only think of a handful of individuals who went on to reoffend after being convicted of a school shooting or plot, so what do I know?
Then again, the more I think about it, maybe prosecutors were more concerned about scoring a conviction rather than imposing a long sentence. After all, Schultz’s first trial ended in a mistrial after a lone juror dissented against the rest of the jury.
However, if I was offered a plea deal to testify against Schultz and I got more jail time than him, I would be pissed.