Published: Sun, November 10, 2019

Murderer 'Dies,' Is Resuscitated, Then Says He Completed His Life Sentence

Murderer 'Dies,' Is Resuscitated, Then Says He Completed His Life Sentence

However, a lower court didn't buy it. He claimed that he had fulfilled the sentence after his short-term death.

Adding a nail to Schreiber's legal coffin, the court said the sentence he is serving in the Iowa State Penitentiary will not end until a medical examiner declares him dead.

"Schreiber is either alive, in which case he must remain in prison, or he is dead, in which case this appeal is moot", a judge ruled. And Potterfield doubts that Schreiber's interpretation of the law could possibly be what lawmakers meant when they defined a life sentence. So, a year ago Schreiber filed an application for post-conviction relief with state courts, claiming that he had technically completed his life sentence by dying momentarily on March 30, 2015. The inmate then underwent surgery to fix his organs and recovered.

Schreiber, 66, was sentenced to life without parole after being convicted of murder for killing a man with the handle of an ax in 1996, according to The Des Moines Register.

In 2018, Schreiber applied to a state court for release, arguing that he had "momentarily died" at the hospital and therefore fulfilled his life sentence.


The judges' opinion states that Schreiber was rushed to a hospital after he fell unconscious in his cell.

A district court disagreed with his argument, and Schreiber took the case to the Iowa Court of Appeals. The courts have not addressed whether he was wrongfully resuscitated. "We conclude [the law] requires Schreiber to stay in prison for the rest of his natural life, regardless of whether he was resuscitated against his wishes in 2015".

A judge denied the motion, and an appeals court on Wednesday agreed that Schreiber's argument was not persuasive.

Schreiber's attorney has not commented on what his client wants to do next.

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