(TMU) — Benjamin Schreiber is serving a life sentence in an Iowa prison for murder, but is attempting to file an appeal for his release, arguing that he has already served his life sentence, despite spending less than 25 years behind bars thus far.
Schreiber has a very interesting—and possibly unprecedented—argument. In 2015, nearly two decades into his sentence, Schreiber temporarily died and was brought back to life during a bout of severe septic poisoning. Since he was technically dead for a short period of time before he was revived, Schreiber is arguing that he completed his life sentence.
Unfortunately for him, this week the Iowa Court of appeals ruled that the 66-year-old convicted murderer needs to stay in prison until he dies for good in order to fulfill his sentence.
In the ruling, Judge Amanda Potterfield attempted to be as clear as possible about the terms of the sentence.
“Schreiber is either alive, in which case he must remain in prison, or he is dead, in which case this appeal is moot,” Potterfield wrote, according to Chron.
“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 added.
Schreiber argued in his appeal that doctors working on behalf of the prison violated a “do not resuscitate” order by bringing him back to life, citing that as another reason why he deserved to be granted his freedom. However, it was ultimately Schreiber’s brother who gave the doctors permission to medicate him.
Schreiber is in prison for the murder of John Dale Terry, a man whom he clubbed to death with the wooden handle of a pickax. Schreiber was found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 1997.