Prisoner serving life sentence argued he'd done his time after he died and came back to life

The prisoner, who was charged with murder, claimed that his sentence had been served - given that he briefly died in 2015.

prisoner died serving a life sentence
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prisoner died serving a life sentence

This story combines two of the most scary but darkly fascinating things in today’s society: prison and death. This is the tale of a man called Benjamin Schreiber who was serving a life sentence in Iowa State Penitentiary when - and this is true - he died.

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We’ve already told you about the woman who was clinically dead for 11 minutes before coming back to life. Well, this story has a whole other level to it. After dying and coming back to life, Schreiber argued that his life sentence was complete as his heart stopped and his life technically ended. According to this logic, he said he should be allowed to walk free. He felt so sure about this that he took his case to court. Here’s the whole tale.

Schreiber died

Schreiber, who was in prison for first-degree murder after clubbing a man to death with the handle of a pickaxe, developed kidney stones while behind bars. In 2015, this health issue developed into septic poisoning, and he lost consciousness. He was taken from prison to a nearby hospital for treatment.

While there, his heart stopped beating. Medics tried to resuscitate him five times, eventually using the successful combination of epinephrine and adrenaline. Once he was stable, they treated his sepsis and sent him back to continue his life sentence. However, Schreiber had other ideas.

Schreiber argued he has done his time

The criminal took his unusual case to court with some flabbergasting logic. He argued that, because he technically died, his life sentence had been served and he should walk free.

It’s hard to believe, but it gets even more complicated as Schreiber claimed he was brought back to life against his will. According to the Des Moines Register, he had signed a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ order years earlier. Furthermore, the prisoner’s brother reportedly told medics: ‘If he is in pain, you may give him something to ease the pain, but otherwise you are to let him pass.’

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the court was not sold. An order from the legal proceedings stated that his argument was ‘unpersuasive and without merit’. An attempted appeal also failed. Justice Potterfield stated at the time:

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.

Schreiber died (again) in April 2023, due to natural causes. A case like his is very unusual, but if it ever happens again it's possible someone else will try the same thing he did. What do you think, should he have been let go after his 'first' life sentence?

Read more:

This woman died for 28 minutes and says she visited the afterlife: ‘Jesus is real’

This woman died for 9 minutes and believes she visited the afterlife

This man died for several minutes, came back to life and revealed what actually happened

Sources used:

Mirror: Prisoner who 'died' and came back to life argues life sentence has technically finished

Des Moines Register: Iowan convicted of murder claims his life sentence was served when he died, was revived in medical emergency. The court disagrees.

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