EWU Grove assault victim testifies, faces accused attacker


Rosie Perry

By Kristi Lucchetta, News Editor

John T. Mellgren, who is currently being tried on charges of attempted murder in the second degree sat in the courtroom, hearing three of the prosecution’s witnesses testimonies today. This is the fourth day of the trial for Mellgren, and the trial will continue into next week.

Mellgren is 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 Schrieber 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, Schrieber walked to the stand, with the assistance from a cane that he said he has to use occasionally since the assault.

Schrieber 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.”

Schrieber 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 Schrieber 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 can leave him completely debilitated. He said this 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, Schrieber 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 Schrieber. “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 was the last to take the witness stand in today’s trial. 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 baseball bat’s handle, that was used as a weapon, for suspect Dunigan and the third male’s fingerprints.

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

The trial will continue on Monday, April 17, with a predicted closing of the trial happening that following Tuesday afternoon.