Man claims he served life sentence after being revived in medical emergency

Elias Hubbard
November 8, 2019

But that hasn't stopped him from arguing that he died four years ago.

An Iowa Court of Appeals says no - at least as far as convicted murderer Benjamin Schreiber is concerned.

Schreiber is being held for the rest of his natural life at the Iowa State Penitentiary.

Judges, however, aren't buying it.

"He asserts that he was sentenced to life without parole, 'but not to life plus one day, '" Judge Amanda Potterfield wrote in her decision on Wednesday. Schreiber has argued in court that he was resuscitated against his wishes and that his life - and his sentence - should have ended with his medical death in 2015.

Schreiber, who was handed a whole life term without the possibility of parole after bludgeoning a man to death in the 1990s, became gravely ill in March 2015 when large kidney stones led to septic poisoning.

Almost two decades later, Schreiber was hit with severe septic poisoning. He was unconscious when he arrived to hospital.

In a court filing in April 2018, Schreiber claimed that because he had momentarily died, his life sentence had technically been completed. He claimed that he had fulfilled the sentence after his short-term death.

The court denied his request, calling it "unpersuasive and without merit". The fact that Schreiber was able to file a legal motion petitioning for his release, the judge added, "in itself confirms the petitioner's current status as living".

An appeals court just ruled that's not how it works. Instead, they zeroed in on what "life in prison" means.

Schreiber's lawyer then took the case to the appeals court, which ruled Wednesday that the convict couldn't have it both ways.

Schreiber had signed a "do not resuscitate" order years earlier, but hospital staff administered fluids through an IV after his brother in Texas said Schreiber should be given something to ease his pain.

Schreiber remains incarcerated at the Iowa State Penitentiary in rural Lee County.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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