"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", Judge Amanda Potterfield wrote in the court of appeals opinion. Schreiber had used a "long wooden axe handle" to club Terry to death, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.
The axe handle, which Schreiber had allegedly thrown out of a driver's side vehicle window, was later recovered with "blood and hair" on it, just west of Agency, Iowa, a small town roughly 95 miles southeast of Des Moines.
Schreiber was convicted of murder in the beating death of a man in 1996, the Daily Iowegian reported.
Almost two decades later, Schreiber was hit with severe septic poisoning.
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Schreiber was convicted of first-degree murder in 1997. According to court records, he had developed kidney stones that were so large they "caused him to urinate internally".
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Schreiber's request was denied at the district court level, which prompted him to take it to the Iowa Court of Appeals.
Schreiber said he was resuscitated despite his brother's directions and his own do-not-resuscitate order on file with the Iowa Department of Corrections.
Schreiber, 66, was eventually returned to prison. Doctors rushed to his aid and restarted his heart five times, effectively bringing him back from death.
The appeals court said it did not believe lawmakers intended for the law dictating sentencing for the most serious felonies to be read as if defendants should be freed whenever medical procedures during their incarceration lead to their resuscitation by medical professionals.
Schreiber remains incarcerated at the Iowa State Penitentiary in rural Lee County.
Schreiber's attorney has not commented on what his client wants to do next.