Does a life sentence end at death? Inmate says yes, should go free

Does a life sentence end at death? Inmate says yes, should go free

The Iowa Appeals Court has ruled against Benjamin Schreiber, a convicted killer, who says he "died" during a medical emergency and thus fulfilled his life sentence.

An inmate in Iowa who said he died, albeit briefly, during a medical emergency says his life sentence was fulfilled when he died and he should go free.

Benjamin Schreiber has been behind bars serving a sentence of life in prison since his 1997 conviction of beating a man to death, The Associated Press reported.

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While in jail, Schreiber, according to court records, developed kidney stones and became septic in March 2015, while he was imprisoned at Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, CNN reported.

Schreiber claims his heart stopped five times during that medical emergency, the AP reported.

He "claims he momentarily died at the hospital, thereby fulfilling his 'life' sentence ... Because his sentence has been fulfilled, he argues, he is imprisoned illegally and should be immediately released," CNN reported.

His heart stopping, according to Schreiber, is enough for him to walk free.

But a district judge disagreed, ruling that "Schreiber is either alive, in which case he must remain in prison, or he is dead, in which case this appeal is moot," the AP reported. Since he was able to file the appeal, the judge determined, Schreiber is very much alive.