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Episode 5: Silver bullet


WORLD Radio - Episode 5: Silver bullet

As Terri's date with death approaches, powerful new allies come to her aid, and Michael makes a stunning reversal

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, CO-HOST: Terri’s time is running out. And the battle for her life consumes the Schindlers. They’ve quit their jobs to become full-time advocates.
Bobby leads the charge—juggling phone calls from senators and celebrities.
Suzanne fights to stay cheerful for her family.

SUZANNE: We had to stay strong for each other. We also had to stay strong for Terri. I mean, we had a fight ahead of us. And all of us had to suck it up and fight for her. She was, you know, fighting with everything she had. So we don't want to let her down.

Bob’s health is failing. But he forges ahead—rallying supporters. Mary spends a lot of time praying.

MARY: My husband had a very hard time with this very hard time. And I tried to be strong for him. But just going to Mass and praying, and just asking the Lord to please just whatever you're gonna do, just do the right thing. And I don’t want her to suffer.

Things at Michael Schiavo’s house are also tense. He and his fiance Jodi Centonze are stretched to the breaking point…worn out from this all-out legal war. Then another belligerent swoops in: Congress.

FRIST: If we don’t act, there’s a good chance that a living human being would be starved to death in a matter of days, and that’s why the action now, that’s why we’re not rushing things, but deliberating quickly, so we can get this to the House of Representatives. She’ll be starved to death next Friday.

The U.S. House passes HR 1332. The “Protection of Incapacitated Persons Act of 2005.” It’s an attempt to make a fresh sort of Terri’s Law at the federal level. For Jodi, it’s the last straw. First the state courts and legislature; now the US Congress? Who knows how long things will stretch out now. For the first time in their 12-year relationship, she asks Michael to walk away. Give up on Terri, on the fight with the Schindlers, all of it. They argue for hours. She tells him he’s given it his all…no one can say he didn’t try. And finally…Michael listens. On March 16, he calls his lawyer George Felos and tells him he’s done fighting. It’s time to give it up.


From WORLD Radio, and the creative team that brings you The World and Everything in It: This is Lawless. I’m WORLD Radio Features Editor, Anna Johansen Brown.

LYNN VINCENT, CO-HOST: And I’m New York Times bestselling author and WORLD Magazine executive editor Lynn Vincent.  Lawless is a true crime podcast that examines a frightening fact of American life: That not every crime is against the law.

ANNA: In Season 2, we’re finishing our investigation of the Terri Schiavo story, a case that in 2005 shocked the world. This is Episode 5: Silver Bullet.

SPONSORSHIP SPOT: Lawless is made possible by listeners like you. Additional support comes from Compelled Podcast. Listen to unique and compelling testimonies from people like Laura Perry, a woman who was raised in the church but rejected its teachings and identified as a "man" for 10 years. But then one day, she encountered the love of Christ and was confronted with a life-changing decision. Listen on your favorite podcast app or at CompelledPodcast.com.

LYNN: When Michael calls Felos to say he’s ready to give up the fight, Felos isn’t ready to give up at all. He and Michael have a long talk. I think it’s worth quoting Michael as he recalls the conversation in his book. Speaking of Felos, Michael writes:

“He reminded me that we had to realize that it wasn’t just Terri anymore. It was about all the rest of the people who didn’t want the government telling us how we could die and when we were allowed to decide that we didn’t want further medical treatment…And whether we were going to let a vocal minority change the rules for everybody.”

Schindler attorney David Gibbs didn’t know about the conversation at the time. But looking back, he wonders about the ethics of it.

GIBBS: And there were times, obviously, lawyers give input to clients. But if a client says, “I’m done,” and you’re fighting for death, you have to step back and say, “Wait a minute, what authority do I have to push past that?”...And there is an element where, you know, I mean, I was honored to stand with the Schindlers and they stood to the very end. But if they had come to me and said, “David, we’re not going to fight anymore,” it was their decision…We’re not representing ourselves. And I, I would say that it definitely became very personal for Mr. Felos because it had gone on for so long.

LYNN: By the time Michael hangs up with Felos, he feels inspired…empowered. Ready to resume the fight. But Jodi doesn’t feel the same way. She packs a bag, marches their kids out to the car, and drives off.

ANNA: It’s March 18, 2005. Terri Schiavo sits quietly in her lounge chair in hospice. Today is the last day she’ll have any food or water. Judge Greer has drawn a line in the sand: This is the day her feeding tube comes out. There will be no more delays.

Terri has visitors today: Her sister, Suzanne; Suzanne’s husband, Michael Vitadamo; one of the Schindlers’ lawyers, Barbara Weller; and her aunt, C.B. Tammaro. They’re talking together…talking about Terri. If only she could speak for herself…tell the world she wants to live—the nightmare would be over.

CB TAMMARO: And all of a sudden, Barbara said, “I wonder what Terri would say?” "Terri, what do you think? Do you want to live?”

What happens next floors C.B. She says Terri sits up in her chair, lifts her head…

CB TAMMARO: Just immediately, like, it was like she had been listening to the whole conversation and was right on cue to answer. And very loudly to me said “Ahh, wanna.” It just guttural. It was very emotional.

Barbara Weller says Terri can’t seem to get the “L” out for the last word…“live.” An anguished expression crosses Terri’s face and she starts to cry. Weller comforts her. She vows to tell the world what Terri tried to say. That she wants to live. Weller takes her story to the media outside.

WELLER: I took her arm like this. And I said, “Terri, if you could just say, ‘I want you to live this would be all over today. You really just really need to try and say I want to live,’ and Terri went “Aaah” And then she screamed “Aaah” really loud so that they around the hallway. And she couldn’t get the rest of it out and she started crying. I just sort of started stroking her face and said, “It’s okay Terri, you’ve said enough, you know, it’s okay.”

But police say that never happened.

CB TAMMARO: And there was a police officer standing in the doorway. And she saw and she was standing right there and saw it. And when they asked her what she had seen, she denied it. She denied the whole thing. And all we could do is stand aghast. I know God knows. And the three of us know what we saw…She could have stepped forward and said, “I was in the room with the three of them. And they heard it, they know what they heard.” That would have changed everything.

And though Weller later files an affidavit with Judge Greer, he isn’t swayed. Then, around 1:45 p.m.: Terri’s feeding tube comes out for the third time. George Felos makes the announcement.

FELOS: Present at that time, was a physician and a number of healthcare providers. Mr. Schiavo was not there at the time. I am told that it was an emotional occasion. Prayers were said at the time, and the feeding tube was removed without, without incident. Mr. Schiavo currently is, is with his wife at her bedside.

LYNN: Bobby’s away in D.C., lobbying lawmakers to save Terri, when he gets the news.

BOBBY: I was sitting down ready to do an interview with CNN. And as I was waiting, and I was watching the TV, and it said, Judge Greer had just ordered Terri’s feeding tube removed. And I remember I got up out of my chair and just left. I remember CNN was doing anything they could to try to get me sit down and do an interview. And I was just like, not now.

Back in Florida, Suzanne renews her resolve to get Terri’s food and hydration restored.

SUZANNE: Keep in mind Terri’s feeding tube was removed twice before, and both times it was put back in. I truly never believed that Terri was going to die even the day there would be a feeding tube was removed. And I thought, Okay, well, now we just have to get it put back in.

But this time around, Mary isn’t so sure.

MARY: I guess that’s when I decided, you know, I bet around, you know, brace myself because this looks like that if, you know, no one’s going to help her this time.

Two days earlier, on March 16, after Felos convinced Michael to stay in the fight, Jodi loaded up her car and drove away. After she left, Michael says he stayed up crying all night. He knew she would be back. But, he felt bad he hadn’t been able to play both roles as well as he thought: “Terri’s Mike” and “Jodi’s Mike.”

By now, the case has dragged on longer than anyone thought possible. Michael has kept going, despite so many people urging him to quit. Not just Jodi…strangers from around the world. They’ve sent Michael lots of ugly mail. Threats against his children…against his sister-in-law, Joan. Even death threats. Someone offered to pay him one million dollars to walk away.

In any case, it’s too late now. Michael says even if he wanted to reverse things, he couldn’t. The judge’s order isn’t tied to him. It’s based on the court’s determination of Terri’s wishes. Case closed. Jodi stays away for just one night…one long, miserable night, she says. The morning after their fight, she goes back to Michael. She says she realized walking away from him now would be like him walking away from Terri.

ANNA: The same day Terri’s feeding tube comes out…just a few hours before the procedure…Congress issues a subpoena for Terri.

GIBBS: And what the Congress was wanting to do…is they wanted to meet Terri. They wanted to have her come to Washington.

Congress requests Judge Greer delay the feeding tube removal so Terri can answer the summons.

GIBBS: And the concept was a simple one: Before we allow this innocent disabled woman to die, we want to meet her, we want to see her, we would like to put our eyes on her.

Felos finds some reporters and unloads.

FELOS: The subpoena issued by the United States House of Representatives is nothing short of thuggery. It was an attempt to intimidate and coerce the treating physicians, in this case, the health care providers in this case, and Mr. Schiavo from carrying out the lawful court order. It was odious. It was shocking. It was disgusting. And I think all Americans should be very alarmed about that.

Greer gets a call about the motion while he’s on the road.

GREER: I actually heard that motion going down I-95 toward my undisclosed location…

Sheriff’s deputies had whisked him away to keep him safe.

GREER: …and I denied that motion.

ANCHOR: Despite the prayers of millions, pleas from the Vatican, the President and an act of Congress. It came down to a handful of judges, especially this judge, George Greer of Florida, who time after time ruled that Terri should be allowed to die.

LYNN: By now, Judge Greer’s five-year involvement in the case is affecting more than just his physical safety…it’s also bleeding over into his spiritual life.

RICE: Occasionally, you will hear you kicked judge Greer out of the church. That’s not quite at all what happened.

Willy Rice is the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater. He came on staff in the fall of 2004…straight into the thick of the Schiavo case. George Greer was a member at the church. Had been for years.

RICE: This is a Clearwater was, I mean, it’s a big part of Tampa Bay, and yet there are people here have been here for decades. And they knew, you know, they would have called him George, you know, he taught in their Sunday school class…So you know, Judge Greer was not some, you know, four eyed monster, to people here, he was somebody that they had dinner with, somebody they knew.

Rice says Greer was already distancing himself from the church—he didn’t attend that winter or spring of ‘05. So Rice didn’t really connect with him—except for one cordial phone call. That was it. Then the Schiavo case, which had quieted down for a season, ramped up again.

RICE: And we started getting letters and calls from everywhere. I mean, all of a sudden, you know, we’re getting letters every day. Telling us you know how terrible we were and people calling our office and, and mostly from the conservative side, the pro life side, unfortunately…so all of a sudden, you’re, you know, our secretaries are getting these calls, like we’re a terrible church or you’re a liberal church, or why don’t you do something about this judge?

As part of his mission to help the Schindlers, Randall Terry even held a protest outside Calvary Baptist. That spring of 2005, the St. Petersburg Times ran a profile of Greer. He told the paper he’d quit attending and tithing to the church back in 2003. In another interview, he cited a couple of editorials in The Florida Baptist Witness that had criticized his handling of the Schiavo case. Calvary Baptist had a subscription to the Witness and routinely sent its articles to church members. Greer called the editorials about him “unchristian.” In the midst of all this, Willy Rice decided to reach out. He tried calling Greer at home, but never got an answer.

RICE: I knew he was getting death threats. So my assumption was, he’s probably not home, so I thought, well, you just write him a letter. And I thought may not be at his home. You better send it to the courthouse. But I didn't know that when it go into the courthouse that’s public record in the state of Florida.

That’s how Rice’s letter, which he meant to be private, went public. In it, Rice asked Greer to clarify where he stood with the church. He wrote, “If you have chosen to leave Calvary, distance yourself from her and criticize her publicly, then why have you not formally transferred your membership elsewhere?”

And that’s the line that got everyone’s attention. Even today, news stories quote it and claim Pastor Rice was kicking Judge Greer out. But that’s not what happened. Rice’s letter went on: “I am not asking you to do this, but since you have taken the initiative of withdrawal, and since your connection with Calvary continues to be a point of concern, it would seem the logical and, I would say, biblical course.”

RICE: It was just meant to be a private question, from a pastor to a member like, if you are that angry at us, then why are you still claiming to be a member here. He responded to that by withdrawing his membership from the church.

Still, those media reports began—the ones saying Rice kicked a venerable member out of his own church. So, that Easter, Willy Rice has to have security with him, too.

ANNA: Outside the hospice, a swelling number of protesters demand action.

PROTESTER: Let Terri live, let Terri live…Let Terri live…

Mary is tired—everyone can see it. She comes out and makes a brief statement to the press.

MARY: Please, please, please, save my little girl.

In response to that cry, an army of allies rallies. They’re working desperately around the clock…racking their brains…searching for a silver bullet to get Terri hydrated before it’s too late.

GIBBS: We were, you know, in the middle of a tsunami of legal and legislative activity. It was just that constant search for the miracle, you know, to use the old football term, the “Hail Mary,” the play at the end…

On March 19th…the day after Terri’s tube is removed…lawmakers in Congress say they’re drafting yet another piece of legislation. The earlier bill failed. Maybe this one will stick. Here’s a report from NPR:

NPR: It’s been more than 24 hours since hospice doctors acting on a court order removed the feeding tube that’s kept Terri Schiavo alive for the last 15 years…Republicans on Capitol Hill say they’ve reached a compromise on new legislation to prolong Schiavo’s life.

The House and Senate pass different versions of the bill. But time runs out for a compromise. It’s Palm Sunday weekend and lawmakers have already packed their bags and headed home.

Conservative activists spring into action…calling up representatives. People like Lori Kehoe of the National Right to Life sound the alarm.

KEHOE: I think there were probably a number of war rooms set up all over, I know, you know, as I said, both in the Senate and the House side, they were they were working their hearts out to rescue this woman. I know that there were people of goodwill all over the country and in fact, I know all over the world who were waiting on the edge of their seats and doing what they could do.

The strategy works. Representatives start flying back from every corner of the map. Vic Snyder is a Democrat from Arkansas. He’s already at home when his phone goes off Saturday evening.

SNYDER: My wife and I were having a couple people for dinner and we were kind of scurrying around getting ready…There was not even an indication of what the topic was. Now after a while I thought, well, it must be about Mrs. Schiavo…

The next day, Snyder’s on a plane to Washington.

NPR: On Capitol Hill congressional leaders opened a rare Sunday session in hopes of pushing through legislation to prolong the life of Terri Schiavo. The Senate passed the bill this afternoon. The house is to take it up this evening. The bill would open new legal avenues to members of Schiavo’s family who want the feeding tube reinserted.

President Bush flies back on Air Force 1 from his Texas ranch…He’s on stand-by to sign the bill as soon as it passes.

NPR: Sunday morning many lawmakers went to church first thing celebrating Palm Sunday before heading for the capitol. In the House Democrats plan to last minute challenge to the bill…

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: We’re not doctors. We’re not medical experts. We’re not bioethicists, we’re members of Congress…

Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: …We make laws, and we uphold the law, and we swore to protect the Constitution. And we are thumbing our nose at the Constitution if this goes forward.

Felos appeals to the Democrats to make a stand.

FELOS: And I want to say to Hillary Clinton, and Bob Kerry and Tom Harkin, and and and the Patrick Leahy and the Democratic senators, don’t do this to Terri Schiavo. To have her feeding tube inserted by an by a subsequent act of Congress before she dies would be a horrific act upon her her body.

But the GOP has Senate and House majorities…and House Leader Tom DeLay is staunchly on Bobby’s side.

DELAY: It’s a very moving meeting to listen to how that young man [Bobby] has lived over the last 11 years. And what they’ve been through is heartbreaking. And yet they see that there is hope. They see that Terri has purpose in her life.

DeLay even invites Bobby to watch the debate from his private room in the Capitol. The final vote is just after midnight.

SNYDER: I arrived at about 9:30 in the evening, Sunday night. I went and grabbed some takeout ran to my apartment, watched the C-SPAN debate there while I change clothes. The vote goes off a little after 12, I walked across the street, and and cast a cast a vote.

Snyder casts his vote for the Schindlers. So do forty-six other Democrats. The bill passes: 203 yeas, 58 nays.

LYNN: Not every member was there—the House had been in recess and One hundred-seventy-four members don’t vote. But of those represented, the tally is surprisingly bipartisan—nearly half of Democrats approve the measure. Then, in the Senate, the bill earns “yeas” from some of the most liberal lawmakers in the land: Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Barack Obama. When victory is sure, Tom DeLay finds Bobby and gives him a bear hug. Inside the room, everyone’s laughing in relief. An aide rushes to wake up the president.

DELAY: Mr. Bush emerged from his bedroom and standing in the hallway of the second floor, residents of the White House signed the bill into law at 1:11 am.

The next day, President Bush announces the news to cheers and applause.

BUSH: The Democrats and Republicans in Congress came together last night to give Terri Schiavo’s parents another opportunity to save their daughter’s life. This is a complex case with serious issues. In extraordinary circumstances like this, it is wise to always err on the side of life.

Bobby is ecstatic.

BOBBY: And after the law was passed, I remember I was on the first plane back down to be with my family. Extremely encouraged. So we’re very happy because we thought that Terri’s life was gonna be spared once again.

PROTESTOR: Oh God, we cry out.

ANCHOR: The prayers of the religious right were answered early this morning when Congress passed a law allowing Schiavo’s parents to take their fight to a federal court…

ANNA: But Terri’s fate is not yet sealed. The new law allows the Schindlers to sue in federal court…but it doesn’t guarantee the outcome.

MARTINEZ: It does not give any order to re-insert the feeding tube. That would be the judge’s decision. And it would be actually the judge’s decision about whether to even take up the case. But the sponsors of this legislation say they can’t imagine that a judge would not do this and would let Terri Schiavo die in the meantime.

Gibbs rushes the newly minted law to the courthouse in Tampa. It’s two o’ clock in the morning, but reporters already cluster on the sidewalk outside.

ANCHOR: Friends, family, politicians and protesters are waiting tonight for a federal judge to rule on the fate of a brain-damaged woman in Florida…

ANCHOR: Armed with the new law, the parents asked for a restraining order against letting Schiavo die until a new hearing is held into her rights. The judge would have to order that the tube be reinserted.

The court clerk lets Gibbs in, then locks the door. The rattle of her keys echoes across the room. She leads him through the dark halls to her office.

GIBBS: As a federal employee, I mean, the President and the Congress have just acted. So this is a huge deal…

That’s where Gibbs and the clerk run into their first major setback.

GIBBS: …the computers won’t boot up. And she is required to randomly draw judge. And so she’s trying to, you know, get the computers to boot up. And again, I’m gracious, she’s working in the middle of the night…

The clerk suggests a new strategy…

GIBBS: So she’s like, “Well, we could do it the old fashioned way.” And I said, “Well, what’s that? And so she wrote on a little piece of paper, the names of the available judges, and she dumped a candy dish on her desk, and she put the names of the judges in the dish, shook it a little bit, and said, “Pick your judge.”

Gibbs recognizes it’s a pivotal moment. Terri’s life depends on which name is written on a scrap of paper pulled at random from a secretary’s candy dish.

GIBBS: As I was reaching into the candy dish, I thought, you know, there’s some judges that I know will put feeding tube in and save Terri, there’s some that I think will probably not show too much interest.

Gibbs reaches in… and pulls out a name.

GIBBS: And she says you’ve selected Judge Whittemore and so we’ll be contacting him immediately.

But, when the clerk rings up Judge Whittemore at 3 a.m., he doesn’t show the urgency Gibbs was hoping for. Whittemore calls back an hour later and tells Gibbs to go home…He’ll call a hearing later that day. Terri will have to wait at least that much longer for food and water.

LYNN: Whittemore’s hearing opens at 3 p.m. on Monday, March 22. Congress moved heaven and earth to get the case here…Now, Terri’s fate comes down to the decision of a single judge.

GIBBS: Certainly, lawyers understand you can win cases, you can lose cases, judges can rule one way or another way, juries can come back with verdicts. But at the end of the day, we knew that anything that the courts would do adverse to the case, ultimately resulted in Terri’s death. And that was just a burden through the whole thing that is really kind of unfathomable.

The hearing doesn’t go well for the Schindlers.

GIBBS: I sort of expected and maybe this was hopeful that the Congress acted the President acted, and the federal court would do what was necessary to let all of that take effect that there would be a reinsertion of the feeding tube, and we would look at everything and that this could go on for a year or two. And if Terri was to ultimately die, it would be after a very fair due process had occurred in the federal courts. So my expectation was for the judge to, in my mind, do what made the most sense. And sadly, and unfortunately, that’s not what he chose to do.

GOODMAN: A federal judge has denied the request of Terri Schiavo’s parents to order the reinsertion of a feeding tube for the severely brain-damaged woman. U.S. District Judge James Whittemore wrote that Schiavo’s life and liberty interests had been protected by Florida courts. He wrote that, quote, “despite these difficult and time-strained circumstances, this court is,” quote, “constrained to apply the law to the issues before it.”

ANNA: Terri’s feeding tube has been out for five days now. Her body is showing signs of dehydration.

CB TAMMARO: … it just seemed so grotesque. I saw her when it was really hard. I mean, her eyes were sunken. She was like, gray color, and no real movement or acknowledgement.

By now, C.B. and Mike Tammaro have come down from Corning to help care for the Schindlers…They can’t believe what’s happening to their niece.

MIKE TAMMARO: If I lay down there in the bed. And you don’t feed me for two weeks or give me water for two weeks. That was Terri’s condition. She didn’t have anything attached for her breathing. She didn’t have anything keeping her heart together and pumping. You’d die too in two weeks if nobody fed you or drink gave you something to drink.

The Tammaros are worried about Bob and Mary.

MARY: No mother in this entire world should ever have to go through that in their life, ever. It’s the most horrendous, horrific thing I have ever seen in my life. And it was happening to my daughter…

BOB: When they’re babies, you go out of your way to protect them. That’s your role as a parent to protect your children. And then you try and get them out and you can’t and you’re treated. Not as a parent. But as an outsider, you have no voice in the matter.

Things get so bad after a while that Bobby and Suzanne ask their parents not to go visit Terri anymore.

BOBBY: We told my parents I think it was two or three days before Terri died not to go into a room anymore because of the way Terri looked and the way she was suffering. It was it was just it was it was absolutely, just horrible.

NBC: After losing twice in federal court today and in the Florida Senate, Bob and Mary Schindler turned to Governor Jeb Bush, who suggested the state could once again intervene in this emotional case…

LYNN: In the state capital, the new bill has hit a snag: Republican Senator Jim King. King had voted for the first state-level version of Terri’s Law—the one he’d purposely helped craft so narrowly that it was almost certain to be ruled unconstitutional. But he still felt deeply conflicted about his yes vote. Now, he’s determined not to make the same mistake twice. And he’s recruited eight other Republican Senators to take a stand, too.

NPR: On Wednesday, the Florida Senate rejected a bill proposed by the Governor that would have barred the removal of feeding tubes from any patients like Schiavo. At the same time, Bush sent lawyers for the state of Florida into court seeking custody of the 41 year old based on allegations of neglect.

That same day… Governor Bush calls a surprise press conference. Rumor has it the governor has an ace up his sleeve…a new strategy to snatch Terri back for a third time.

RODRIGUEZ: And the governor says come down to the press room. And it’s packed full of local and national media.

That’s Raquel Rodriguez—Rocky for short. She’s served as Governor Bush’s general counsel since 2002. For weeks, Rocky and her team have been busy behind the scenes researching avenues to save Terri. But, that hasn’t been easy lately.

RODRIGUEZ: We suddenly started getting a bunch of calls from out of state. We were told it was a Wisconsin radio station that had been circulating the direct contact information of the attorneys for the governor. And the calls just and the emails and the faxes just started pouring in.

So many calls that operations at the governor’s office grind to a halt.

RODRIGUEZ: And so we were trying to do our best to save Terri, but our ability to do that was being compromised by the shutdown of our communication systems, by all these people calling and emailing and insulting us about. And at that point, I told our administration I said, Look, our office cannot function. You need to figure out a way to divert the calls and the emails, because we’re not going to be able to do anything for Terri. So we activated the Emergency Operation Center, and diverted the calls to operators there. You're not just getting attacked by the people that are adverse to you in court, but you're getting attacked by the people who should be cheering you on.

Now, in the wood-paneled press room, all eyes are on the governor. He announces that a Mayo Clinic neurologist—Dr. William Cheshire—has just submitted an affidavit challenging Terri’s PVS diagnosis.

RODRIGUEZ: And the governor made a statement and he responded to some questions. And I think there was a direct question to him. Well, what can you do?...

It’s the million-dollar question. As courts slam their doors and legislative efforts fail…what can the governor do?

RODRIGUEZ: …And then he said, “Well, I’m going to let my counsel answer that.”

When Rocky hears that, she feels…

RODRIGUEZ: Sheer panic. I think that’s the first press conference that I’d spoken at. Ever. Um, and I was searching, I was deathly afraid since we hadn’t discussed in advance what I was supposed to say. I was deathly afraid of saying the wrong thing. But I was trying to follow the governor’s lead that we were not giving up. And so I probably was way too candid. And I said, “Well, based on,” and I cited the Florida Statute, “DCF could take protective custody of Ms. Schiavo. And I’ll leave it at that.”

LYNN: At that moment, Bobby Schindler is waiting outside the press room. Only reporters are allowed inside, so he doesn’t hear Rocky’s bombshell remark. Bobby turns to go.

That’s when someone stops him. Says the governor would like to see him. Bobby makes his way to the outer office. Inside, the place is hopping. Rocky Rodriguez is there, along with attorney Christa Calmas. And Senator Mel Martinez.

Bobby takes a seat across from Jeb Bush. The governor delivers astonishing news: His staff is now working full-speed ahead on a plan to rescue Terri. Bobby’s heart leaps with joy. Already the wheels have been set in motion for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to cross police lines at Florida Hospice of the Suncoast.

Lawless is a production of WORLD Radio. Paul Butler is our executive producer and sound engineer. Our production assistant is Lillian Hamman. Music by Will Shehan. Lawless is reported and written by Grace Snell, Lynn Vincent, and me, Anna Johansen Brown. For more resources related to this and other episodes, visit LawlessPodcast.com. Thanks for joining us.

Additional support comes from Compelled Podcast. Listen to unique and compelling testimonies of people like Laura Perry, a woman who was raised in the church but rejected its teachings and identified as a "man" for 10 years. But then one day, she encountered the love of Christ and was confronted with a life-changing decision..

Or listen to the testimony of Brian Birdwell, an Army officer at the Pentagon on the morning of September 11th, when a jetliner crashed just yards away and instantly engulfed him in flames, forcing him to reckon with eternity and God's sovereignty.

Every story on Compelled is true, vivid, and told by the person who lived it - and saw God working through it. Listen on your favorite podcast app or at CompelledPodcast.com.

(in order of appearance)

Fatima Today: Mary and Suzanne [2006], video from Terri Schiavo archives at Ave Maria University

Frist Diagnosing Terry Schiavo on Senate Floor, Youtube video by SoThisIsWashington

Barbara Weller interview during Terri Schiavo extermination, Youtube video by KiddVid

George Felos - Terri Schiavo Removal Press Briefing, Youtube video by George Felos & Meditation For Lawyers

Shortcut of Terri Schiavo story, Youtube video koliberek89

The Terri Schiavo Case with Judge Greer, Youtube video by St. Petersburg College

CBN News Watch [3/31/2006], video from Terri Schiavo archives at Ave Maria University

Terri Schiavo Revisited: Woodside Hospice 3.27.05, Youtube video by kombatrock

Terri Schiavo Documentary: The Case's Enduring Legacy | Retro Report | The New York Times, Youtube video by The New York Times

NPR All Things Considered - 03/19/2005 : Protesters, Parents Won't Give Up on Schiavo, audio from NPR

A Look at Capitol Hill Politics in Schiavo Case, audio from NPR

Washington Journal: Congressional Involvement in the Schiavo Case, video by C-SPAN

Will Schiavo Case Leave Imprint on Government?, audio from NPR

NPR All Things Considered - 03/20/2005 : Representatives Debate Terri Schiavo Bill, audio from NPR

Terri Schiavo Case [March 19, 2005], video by C-SPAN

Washington Journal: Congressional Involvement in the Schiavo Case [March 24, 2005], video by C-SPAN

Democracy Now! Tuesday [March 22, 2005], audio from DN Studios

DOPE 471, video by Michael Aldrich

ABC Action News: Bob and Mary [5/25/2004],audio from Terri Schiavo archives at Ave Maria University

Terri Schiavo’s Family: Where They Are Now, Youtube video by Facing Life Head On

Remembering Terri Schiavo Part 1, Youtube video by Facing Life Head On

Battle For Terri Schiavo's Death Remembered | Flashback | NBC News, Youtube video by NBC News

NPR All Things Considered - 03/24/2005 : High Court Won't Intervene in Schiavo Case, audio from NPR

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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