Prisoner who died and was resuscitated claims his life sentence is technically over
A prisoner has claimed that his life sentence is technically over because he died and was resuscitated behind bars.
In 2015, convicted murderer Benjamin Schreiber collapsed in his cell and doctors restarted his heart five times. Then, while recovering at the Iowa State Penitentiary, he decided to file a unique appeal against his original sentence.
This man's courtroom outburst earned him another six years in prison:
Needless to say, judges aren't buying his claim that the incident technically ended his sentence, with the Iowa Court of Appeals ruling on Wednesday that Schreiber's body would not leave the prison until a doctor had confirmed that he is dead for good.
"Schreiber is either alive, in which case he must remain in prison, or he is dead, in which case this appeal is moot," Judge Amanda Potterfield wrote.
Schreiber has been incarcerated since 1996 when he was convicted of the murder of John Dale Terry, 39. The crime was uncovered when Terry's bludgeoned body was discovered near an abandoned trailer in rural Agency, Iowa.
According to the prosecution, Schreiber and Terry's girlfriend had plotted to murder him with a pickaxe.
In 1997, Schreiber was sentenced to life without parole for first-degree murder.
Two decades later, the murderer developed severe septic poisoning, with court records revealing that he had kidney stones so large that they "caused him to urinate internally."
He filed for post-conviction relief in 2018 after his 2015 illness, claiming that he was now being kept in prison illegally.
A district court judge said his argument was "unpersuasive and without merit" adding that his ability to petition for release "in itself confirms the petitioner's current status as living."
On Wednesday, the Iowa Court of Appeals published a document saying that they could not dispute the spiritual and medical definition of death.
"We do not believe the legislature intended this provision [...] to set criminal defendants free whenever medical procedures during their incarceration lead to their resuscitation by medical professionals," Potterfield wrote.
While appealing his sentence, Schreiber said that medics did not adhere to his "do not resuscitate" order. The court has yet to rule on this part of the case.
At the time of writing, Schreiber remains incarcerated at the Iowa State Penitentiary, and it's not known if he plans to take his unique case to a higher court.