Schiavo’s parents lose final legal round

Terri Schiavo’s parents lost their last legal attempt to put their brain-damaged daughter back on life support and also ended their hopeless federal appeals process.

Pinellas Circuit Judge George Greer denied the final last minute attempt shortly after noon today, not accepting a motion by the parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, claiming Schiavo tried to say “I want to live” just minutes before the feeding tube was removed a week ago.

The parents claimed Schiavo said “AHHHHH” and “WAAAAAAA” when asked to repeat the phrase “I want to live.” The motion before Greer, the judge who ordered Schiavo’s feeding tub removed, was considered a long, long shot.

Doctors have said Schiavo’s previous utterances were involuntary moans consistent with someone in a vegetative state.

Since Congress passed an extraordinary law last weekend to let the Schindlers take their case to federal court, the 11th Circuit Court has denied three emergency requests made by Schiavo’s parents, most recently on Friday. The U.S. Supreme Court, without explanation, refused to order the feeding tube reinserted.

State and federal courts have repeatedly ruled against the Schindlers, who grew increasingly anguished as their daughter entered her second week without the tube that sustained her for 15 years.

Attorneys for Michael Schiavo, Terri’s husband, argued Friday that the Schindlers had abandoned all pretense of the law and were simply making “a pure emotional appeal.” Michael Schiavo says his wife would not want to be kept alive artificially. Attorney George Felos didn’t return a phone message seeking comment Saturday.

Doctors have said the 41-year-old woman would probably die within a week or two of the tube being removed. By Friday, dehydration was taking its toll. Terri Schiavo’s tongue and eyes were bleeding and her skin was flaking off, Weller said.

“I think the people who are anxious to see her die are getting their wish,” said Bob Schindler, who visited his daughter Friday.

Bob Schindler also pleaded with Gov. Jeb Bush to intervene by taking temporary custody of their daughter while court challenges are argued.

“With the stroke of his pen, he could stop this,” Schindler said. “He’s put Terri through a week of hell and my family though a week of hell. I implore him to put a stop to this. He has to stop it. This is judicial homicide.”

Bush, who has been a staunch supporter of the Schindlers, said Thursday he is not willing to go beyond the boundaries of his powers and that he was hoping the courts would provide relief.

“We are continuing to do whatever we can, and we are pursuing all the options available to us in this case,” Bush spokesman Jacob DiPietre said.

Terri Schiavo suffered brain damage in 1990 when her heart stopped briefly from a chemical imbalance believed to have been brought on by an eating disorder. She left no living will.

She went without food and water in 2003 when the feeding tube was removed for six days and five hours. It was reinserted when Bush and the Legislature pushed through a law that was later thrown out by the state Supreme Court.

Outside the hospice, eight more people – including a 10-year old boy and 13-year-old twin girls – were arrested Friday for trying to bring her water.

“I don’t want her to die,” Joshua Heldreth, 10, from North Carolina, said before his arrest. “I’m not afraid because God is with me.”

A handful of protesters remained outside Terri Schiavo’s hospice overnight.

“I’m so discouraged, I feel so helpless,” said Christine Ambrusko, a student from Atlanta. “I don’t know how in our civilized country we can allow a person to be starved to death with so many questions unanswered.”

Also Friday, the FBI said a man was arrested in Fairview, N.C., allegedly for offering a $250,000 bounty for Michael Schiavo’s death and $50,000 for that of a judge in the case. The FBI did not identify the judge.

Richard Alan Meywes allegedly sent the threatening e-mail Tuesday to two Tampa-area news organizations and the host of a national conservative talk show, the FBI said.

Meywes was taken into custody at his home and charged with murder for hire and with the transmission of interstate threatening communications, the FBI said. If convicted, Meywes could face up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $500,000.