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An inmate serving a life sentence died then resuscitated. Wants to be freed for serving his first life.

CC by Alan Levine

Now, this one is novel and does merit some thought. Did he really die and is he now a new life? Legally, does this man serving a life sentence have a point?

The Houston Chronicle reported this story recently.

Benjamin Schreiber is very much alive. But that hasn't stopped him from arguing that he died four years ago.

After the convicted murderer collapsed in his prison cell in 2015, doctors restarted his heart five times. Recovering back at the Iowa State Penitentiary, Schreiber filed a novel legal appeal. Because he died before he was resuscitated, he had technically fulfilled his life sentence, he claimed.

Judges, however, aren't buying it. Dying for a brief amount of time doesn't amount to a get-out-of-jail-free card, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday, saying that the 66-year-old will remain in prison until a medical examiner determines that he is dead for good.

So who is Benjamin Schreiber?

Schreiber has been behind bars since 1996, when he was charged in the death of John Dale Terry, 39, whose bludgeoned body was found near an abandoned trailer in rural Agency, Iowa. Prosecutors contended that Schreiber, then 43, had plotted with Terry's girlfriend before clubbing the man to death with the wooden handle of a pickax. A jury found him guilty of first-degree murder, and in 1997 he was sentenced to life without parole.

Schreiber got severe septic poisoning after having complications from kidney stones. He also sued for the violation of his do-not-resuscitate wish being violated. He was committed to using any avenue possible to use his death experience as a legal get-out-of-jail card. He took the case all the way up to the Iowa Court of Appeals.

Ultimately Benjamin Schreiber was unsuccessful and remains incarcerated at the Iowa State Penitentiary in rural Lee County. It's unclear if he plans to take his fight to a higher court. His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

The story is worth a read. Check it out at the Houston Chronicle.