Murder convict who momentarily died claims his life sentence has ended, court disagrees
Post his recovery, in April of 2018, Schrieber filed for post-conviction relief, claiming that his death at the hospital absolved him of his life-long sentence, and according to him, he has already over-stayed his prison time by four years.
Iowa man, who was found guilty of first-degree murder in 1997 and was given life sentence without the possibility of parole, is asking to be released because of his short-lived death in 2015. According to Des Moines Register, Benjamin Schreiber was rushed to the hospital in March of 2015 from the Iowa State Penitentiary, after large kidney stones caused him to develop septic poisoning.
He was unconscious by the time he reached the hospital and while he was admitted there, his heart was reportedly restarted five times, even though he had signed a "do not resuscitate" agreement years prior. The medical staff had called Schreiber's brother in Texas before starting the medical procedures, and he too had told them, "If he is in pain, you may give him something to ease the pain, but otherwise you are to let him pass," according to court records.
The doctors, however, saved his life by administering resuscitation fluids through an IV, after which Schrieber was put under the knife for surgery that went on to fix the damage done by the kidney stones. Post his recovery, in April of 2018, he filed for post-conviction relief, claiming that his death at the hospital absolved him of his life-long sentence, and according to him, he has already over-stayed his prison time by four years.
Schrieber argues that he was sentenced for life not "life plus one day", but it was overthrown by the district court, which claims that his demands are "unpersuasive and without merit." The Iowa Court of Appeals also reaffirmed this ruling on Wednesday, reiterating that Schreiber's sentence would not end until a medical examiner declares him to be deceased.
"Schreiber is either still alive, in which case he must remain in prison, or he is actually dead, in which case this appeal is moot," Judge Amanda Potterfield wrote in the court of appeals opinion.