Murderer Who Momentarily 'Died' at the Hospital Tells Court He's Now Served His Life Sentence. Judge Says if He's Making the Plea, He Must Still be Alive

Photo credit: Iowa Department of Corrections
Photo credit: Iowa Department of Corrections



In 1997, Benjamin Schreiber did something terrible.

In his mid-forties at the time, he beat a man to death.


Subsequently, he was given a life sentence.

Then, in 2015, Benjamin Schreiber did something fantastic: He died.

It was great, even for him. Or at least, he thought.

After all — if he died, then that ended his life sentence.

His kidney stones had caused septic poisoning. He was found unconscious at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison and rushed to a hospital.

Doctors performed emergency surgery.

Reportedly, during the ordeal, his heart stopped five different times.

Though he’d signed a “do not resuscitate” order, he was brought back.

Medical staff had even called the prisoner’s brother to let him know of the dire straits. The brother told them, “If he is in pain, you may give him something to ease the pain, but otherwise you are to let him pass.”

He died, and now — thanks to the doctors restarting his heart — he’s a dead guy who just wants to live his life.

In 2018, he filed for post-conviction relief.

In his view, he was sentenced to life without parole, “but not to life plus one day.”


And what good is being deceased if you can’t live each day as if it may be your other last?

Unfortunately for Benjamin, a district court didn’t see things his way. They wanted him to live dead at the prison, instead of walking around dead outside.

And on November 6th, an appeals court upheld the decision.

Here’s how Judge Amanda Potterfield put it:

“Schreiber is either alive, in which case he must remain in prison, or he is dead, in which case this appeal is moot. 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.”

Sometimes ya can’t win for losin’.

Benjamin does have one sparkle of hope: He will likely die again.

Get ’em next time, buddy.



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