John Schultz IV takes the stand for the first time in day three of his retrial
FULTON COUNTY, Ind. -- After two days of testimony from detectives, experts and an alleged co-conspirator, John Schultz IV was called up to the stand as the defense's sole witness, and told the jurors his side of what happened in the months before his arrest.
Schultz took the stand before noon, and spoke calmly-- if quietly-- to the court.
He described his upbringing as "typical," though he was bullied at a young age, eventually leaving Rochester Schools to take online courses, which he didn't continue after the tenth grade.
Around the age of twelve, he said he began to abuse Vyvanse, a drug prescribed to treat ADD and ADHD, eventually moving to marijuana, LSD, and Xanax before taking harder drugs like meth and heroin.
In 2019, he developed a close friendship with Donald Robin Jr, and bonded over similar, troubled upbringings.
They did drugs together, and he said they began to joke about shooting up a school because they were "very bored and very high." According to Schultz, these plans-- for him-- were far from serious, and claimed he was only interested in Columbine because Robin was, and he wanted Robin was, and he wanted Robin to look up to him.
Robin nicknamed Schultz "Reb--" the nickname of Columbine perpetrator Eric Harris-- and the pair both got tattoos related to the Columbine shooting at his suggestion, according to Schultz.
He said that any talk about school shootings was done only by Robin; the one time Schultz mentioned it to someone else-- a friend, Jared Carter-- was because he was angry.
Schultz then spoke to the jury, and told them "I'm sorry for making people believe that I would actually hurt children. I'd never actually do something like that."
After this, the court took a short lunch break. When the jury returned, the prosecution challenged the statements made by Schultz.
They argued Schultz downplayed his own interest in Columbine. At one point, Schultz was living with his grandparents, who threatened to kick him out of their house because he frequently talked about Columbine, along with his continued drug use. He said his father disowned him for similar reasons.
Schultz also scrawled "NBK" on a baseball cap-- an abbreviation for "Natural Born Killers," a phrase used by Harris and Dylan Klebold to refer to their plan to shoot up Columbine High School. Schultz also wrote the date of the massacre-- 04/20/99-- on a smartwatch band, though he denied it being a direct reference.
The prosecution also brought up the Facebook conversation to Jared Carter-- who confronted Schultz about his message where he said he wanted to shoot up a school; Schultz said he wasn't joking. He told the jurors that he was trying to scare Carter with the message.
Videos pulled from Robin's phone showed Schultz saying that he wanted to shoot up schools and "pull a Columbine--" though he argued his tone of voice was not serious.
Ultimately, Schultz told the court that around this time, he felt he was getting too deep into Columbine research, and was starting to learn things about it he felt he shouldn't know-- and told a friend that his research was "stupid." He continued to deny that he made plans with Donald Robin Jr.
The defense rested after his testimony.
Tomorrow, attorneys will make their closing arguments, the jury will be given final instruction, and ABC57 will be waiting for the verdict.