A Spokane jury convicted a man of attempted murder in the baseball bat beating last year of an Eastern Washington University student and track team member.
The attack left the student with severe injuries.
John T. Mellgren now faces a prison sentence of between 17 and 22 years. The jury found he hit Robert “Drew” Schreiber multiple times in the head with an aluminum bat on Oct. 8. Another suspect, Damian Dunigan, will be tried in June. A third suspect has not been arrested.
During the weeklong trial, the jury heard testimony from multiple witnesses who observed the beating and from Schreiber himself, who testified about his lasting injuries.
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The jury deliberated for about five hours Tuesday.
As Judge John Cooney read the verdict, Mellgren stood still, silently facing forward. Before he was handcuffed and led from the courtroom, he shook hands with his defense attorney, Kevin Griffin, and told him, “It’s OK.”
His father told him “I love you,” to which Mellgren responded: “I love you too.”
After the courtroom emptied, Drew Schreiber’s father, Alan Schreiber, who lives in the Tri-Cities, paced the courthouse hallway as he made a phone call to his ex-wife and son’s mother, Amy Karau.
“OK, you ready?” he said. “Guilty of attempted murder. Guilty of first-degree assault.”
Members of the Schreiber family have mostly avoided the trial, having only showed up in person when Drew Schreiber testified on Thursday, and again Tuesday for the verdict reading. Alan Schreiber has said in the past it’s intentional, so the family can focus on moving forward rather than dwelling on what happened.
“I don’t feel much of anything,” Alan Schreiber said after the hearing. “I probably wouldn’t have been happy if it hadn’t gone this way. It doesn’t help my son physically, but a verdict like this will give some solace to my son.”
Mellgren will be sentenced May 17. Dunigan is set for trial in June.
Alan Schreiber was unsure what his son’s involvement would be during subsequent trials.
“I have to let the outcome of today sink in,” he said. “But the guy who was convicted today was not the only one there. There were two others. Let’s just say, one down, two to go.”