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Spokane Jury Convicts Man Who Attempted to Murder EWU Student

Former+EWU+student+Robert+Schreiber+testified+in+court+Thursday%2C+April+13+against+his+assaulter+John+T.+Mellgren+in+Grove+assault+case
Former EWU student Robert Schreiber testified in court Thursday, April 13 against his assaulter John T. Mellgren in Grove assault case

Former EWU student Robert Schreiber testified in court Thursday, April 13 against his assaulter John T. Mellgren in Grove assault case

Contributed by Wikimedia

Contributed by Wikimedia

Former EWU student Robert Schreiber testified in court Thursday, April 13 against his assaulter John T. Mellgren in Grove assault case

By Kristi Lucchetta, News Editor

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John T. Mellgren, who was found guilty of attempted murder in the first degree and assault in the first degree, sat in the courtroom hearing testimonies from witnesses, the victim, doctors and police officers.

The trial began April 10 and lasted until April 18 when the jury returned with a verdict. Mellgren faces a 17- to 22-year prison sentence.

Mellgren was accused of brutally assaulting victim Robert Drew Schreiber, a former EWU student, on the night of Oct. 8 at the Grove Apartments.

This assault left Schreiber with multiple skull fractures and bleeding in the brain. His state was equivalent to a dead body, with the lowest possible Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of three, Dr. Travis Dierks, emergency room physician at Sacred Heart Medical Center, said.

Dierks was the physician working the night of Oct. 8 when Schreiber was brought into the emergency room.

“He had significant head trauma and torso trauma,” Dierks said.

Dierks said Schreiber was immediately rushed in the hands of a neurosurgeon once the CT scans showed significant bleeding between the bone and the brain inside the skull.

“That’s horrible,” said Dierks. “That is the worst-case scenario regarding head trauma.”

Dierks said he was surprised when he heard Schrieber had survived the trauma.

After Dierks testimony on April 13, Schrieber walked to the stand with the assistance from a cane that he said he has to use occasionally since the assault.

Schreiber said he doesn’t remember anything from the night of Oct. 8. The most recent memory he can recall up to that night is from the day before when him and his mom went shopping in Spokane at a North Face store. He then remembers waking up in the hospital being in immense pain.

“It was horrible,” said Schrieber. “It was the worst pain I’ve ever had in my whole life. I wasn’t able to communicate at all, verbally or physically.”

Schreiber said he woke up blind and very confused. He could only hear what was going on around him but didn’t know why he was there. He also had to have a piece of his skull removed twice, which Schrieber described as more pain than he could ever have imagined.

Once Schreiber was released from the hospital, his physical and mental state still needed a large amount of improvement. He said he has to take at least 50 pills a day, and that some medications can leave him completely debilitated. He said the medication makes it challenging for him when planning his daily activities around which pills he takes and when. He also sees a doctor, on average, every other day.

When asked about other medical conditions, Schreiber described his vision as being 50 percent visibility and said he suffers from short term memory loss, stomas, numbness on certain parts of his body and has trouble sleeping.

“It’s like my brain doesn’t go to sleep as well but my body is exhausted,” said Schreiber. “I teach myself how to nap.”

Schrieber said he is just thankful for being alive and is trying not to take anything for granted.

“I want to do as much as I can,” Schrieber said.

Schreiber said he is currently taking an education class online and has software downloaded on his computer to communicate the textbook to him because he cannot read.

Cheney Detective Justin Hobbs then took to the stand. The prosecution team and defense lawyer asked questions regarding the process of the investigation, in which the defense expressed concerns.

When asked if the third male who was with Mellgren and suspect Damian Dunigan Jr. the night of Oct. 8 was questioned, Hobbs said that he didn’t reach out to him for an interview.

Hobbs also said he didn’t think it was necessary to test the DNA on the weapon used, which was the baseball bat, for suspect Dunigan and the third male’s fingerprints.

“I couldn’t prove [the fingerprints] were from that night,” Detective Hobbs said.

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Spokane Jury Convicts Man Who Attempted to Murder EWU Student