Terri Schiavo’s Estranged Husband May Not Be Charged in 911 Delay

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 27, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Terri Schiavo’s Estranged Husband May Not Be Charged in 911 Delay Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 27, 2005

Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) — Terri Schiavo’s estranged husband likely won’t be charged with any crime relating to his failure to promptly call 911 after he allegedly discovered Terri’s body crumpled on the floor following a collapse. Florida Governor Jeb Bush has asked a state prosecutor to look into the matter.

Earlier this month, Bush asked State Attorney Bernie McCabe, the prosecutor for Pinellas and Pasco counties, to look into the 911 discrepancy.

Though McCabe has previously been reluctant to investigate numerous troubling angles of the case, including whether Michael physically abused Terri and caused her collapse, he told the Miami Herald newspaper "if the governor asks me to do something, I’m going to try to do it."

Still, McCabe said he’s looking at Bush’s request as an "inquiry" rather than a normal investigation of a crime.

If McCabe finds wrongdoing, Michael Schiavo could escape any criminal charges, because the statute of limitations for any crime other than murder or manslaughter has expired. Also, failing to call 911 is not a crime in Florida and Michael could only be charged with a crime if he was found to have caused Terri’s collapse.

What is known is that Michael called paramedics at 5:40 a.m. and reported Terri collapsed.

A first version of what happened came during a 1992 medical malpractice suit which awarded Michael $1.5 million, part of which was designated for, but not spent, on Terri’s medical care and rehabilitation. Then, Michael claimed his wife collapsed at 5 a.m.

Later, in a 2003 interview on CNN’s "Larry King Live," Michael says he found Terri at 4:30 a.m.

"Between 40 and 70 minutes elapsed before the call was made, and I am aware of no explanation for the delay," Bush wrote in the letter to McCabe earlier this month. "In light of this new information, I urge you to take a fresh look at this case without any preconceptions as to the outcome."

There were no witnesses in the home and Michael claims there was no delay.

"I have consistently said over the years that I didn’t wait but ‘ran’ to call 911 after Terri collapsed," Michael said in a statement made public last week.

Bobby Schindler, Terri’s brother, told LifeNews.com he doubts that and wonders why investigators didn’t look into the discrepancy back in 1990.

"Because she didn’t die, it wasn’t worth looking into," Schindler told LifeNews.com. "There were no thorough investigations at all at that time. Everyone assumed there was no foul play."

"I’d like to see Michael answer some questions about her collapse, but he never will unless there is an investigation," he said.

McCabe told the Herald he would be fast and thorough in his inquiry.

"It’s going to be pretty quick, I would guess, unless I come across something,” he said.