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We all watched Terri Schiavo die. The controversy around her case dominated the headlines and talk shows, going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, the White House, and the Vatican.

And it's not over yet. Despite her death, the controversy lingers. In Silent Witness, former LAPD detective and New York Times bestselling author Mark Fuhrman applies his highly respected investigative skills to examine the medical evidence, legal case files, and police records. With the complete cooperation of Terri Schiavo's parents and siblings, as well as their medical and legal advisers, he conducts exclusive interviews with forensics experts and crucial witnesses, including friends, family members, and caregivers.

Fuhrman's findings will answer these questions:

What was Terri and Michael Schiavo's marriage really like? What happened the day Terri collapsed? What did Michael Schiavo do when he discovered Terri unconscious? How long did he wait before calling 911? What do medical records show about her condition when she was first admitted to the hospital? What will the autopsy say?

The legal issues and ethical questions provoked by Terri Schiavo's extraordinary case may never be resolved. But the facts about her marriage, her condition when she collapsed, and her eventual death fifteen years later can be determined.

With Silent Witness, Fuhrman goes beyond the legal aspects of the case and delves into the broader, human background of Terri Schiavo's short, sad life.

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061752018
List price: $14.99
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The New Republic once described books like this as "snap" books: hastily produced and devoid of meaningful content. This might have been worth a magazine article, but it's padded with the extraneous. Not only is it repetitious, but do we really need a detailed explanation of ways in which Terri Schiavo could NOT have been strangled? All that I can say in its favor is that it have a substantial section of Schindler family pictures, some interesting appendixes, and it is readable. It's rather frustrating that none of the books that I have read on this case so far have indexes. Makes it difficult to compare the versions. Fuhrman states: "When I first decided to write this book, I decided that the one contribution was objectivity ... I have a great deal of respect for the Schindler family, and I am truly sorry for what happened to their daughter. I may not like Michael Schiavo much, but that doesn't mean he killed his wife." Oh well, that last bit is really reassuring. Fuhrman assumes that if the Schindlers said it, it must be right. At first, both Michael Schiavo and Bobby Schindler Jr. agreed that Michael called Bobby. Then Bob Schindler decided that he was the one who called Bobby. His son (Bobby) changed his testimony, which proves that Michael was a liar. Bob Schindler also claims that Michael hadn't called 911 whereas Michael claims he did before calling the Schindlers. The conversation, as recorded in the Schindlers's book (A Life That Matters: The Legacy of Terri Schiavo -- A Lesson for Us All) is: "'Dad, it's Michael,' the voice on the other end of the line said. 'There's trouble, Terri's passed out. She's unconscious. I can't wake her up.' 'Call 911,' Bob shouted and slammed down the phone." Nothing in this conversation indicates that Michael hadn't already called 911, but the Schindlers and Fuhrman claims it's further proof of lying. Fuhrman says that he is chiefly concerned with the issue of how Terri Schiavo came to collapse in the first place. He argues that the discrepancies in the story are highly suspicious and the Florida police bungled the investigation. The first problem with this accusation is that Fuhrman is looking at about 15 years of statements made in the course of a case that was first highly publicized in Florida and later nationally. The original investigators were looking at what they were told in a couple days; they had no way of knowing that people would change their testimony, or simply be confused, 10 years later. Given the contradictions, some of it has to have been invented, but Fuhrman allows himself to pick and choose to build a case. Call me a dumb layperson, but I find his arguments unconvincing. According to Fuhrman, it is suspicious that Michael Schiavo gives various estimates of when he got home from the restaurant. This might be a red flag worth pursuing, but in the end it's too long before Terri Schiavo's collapse to be obviously important. Maybe it just shows that Michael had a terrible sense of time. Maybe he did have an argument with his wife - his statement to the police implies at least some little disagreement, but the one cited by her friends wasn't around the time of her collapse. Again, worth checking, but not a smoking gun. And why is it suspicious that Michael hearing a thud, would think it might be his wife? After all, her half of the bed was empty, she was obviously up. Maybe it didn't sound like a cat jumping down from something. At the end, he suggests that Governor Jeb Bush convene a grand jury. In his haste to publish, Fuhrman not only missed the autopsy, he missed the report from Florida State Attorney, Bernie McCabe, on the subject of further investigation of abuse. It is published in Michael Schiavo's book and is a complete refutation of Fuhrman. The study concluded that whatever time Schiavo thought he got up, he consistently claimed that he attended to his wife immediately. It points out that the Schindlers had an even worse sense of time: they originally said that Schiavo called between 3 am and 4 am; the 911 call was at 5:40 am. Further, the investigators were unable to fathom how evidence of abuse could have been missed in the intense examination of Terri Schiavo when she first went to the hospital. Rather a waste of trees.more

Reviews

The New Republic once described books like this as "snap" books: hastily produced and devoid of meaningful content. This might have been worth a magazine article, but it's padded with the extraneous. Not only is it repetitious, but do we really need a detailed explanation of ways in which Terri Schiavo could NOT have been strangled? All that I can say in its favor is that it have a substantial section of Schindler family pictures, some interesting appendixes, and it is readable. It's rather frustrating that none of the books that I have read on this case so far have indexes. Makes it difficult to compare the versions. Fuhrman states: "When I first decided to write this book, I decided that the one contribution was objectivity ... I have a great deal of respect for the Schindler family, and I am truly sorry for what happened to their daughter. I may not like Michael Schiavo much, but that doesn't mean he killed his wife." Oh well, that last bit is really reassuring. Fuhrman assumes that if the Schindlers said it, it must be right. At first, both Michael Schiavo and Bobby Schindler Jr. agreed that Michael called Bobby. Then Bob Schindler decided that he was the one who called Bobby. His son (Bobby) changed his testimony, which proves that Michael was a liar. Bob Schindler also claims that Michael hadn't called 911 whereas Michael claims he did before calling the Schindlers. The conversation, as recorded in the Schindlers's book (A Life That Matters: The Legacy of Terri Schiavo -- A Lesson for Us All) is: "'Dad, it's Michael,' the voice on the other end of the line said. 'There's trouble, Terri's passed out. She's unconscious. I can't wake her up.' 'Call 911,' Bob shouted and slammed down the phone." Nothing in this conversation indicates that Michael hadn't already called 911, but the Schindlers and Fuhrman claims it's further proof of lying. Fuhrman says that he is chiefly concerned with the issue of how Terri Schiavo came to collapse in the first place. He argues that the discrepancies in the story are highly suspicious and the Florida police bungled the investigation. The first problem with this accusation is that Fuhrman is looking at about 15 years of statements made in the course of a case that was first highly publicized in Florida and later nationally. The original investigators were looking at what they were told in a couple days; they had no way of knowing that people would change their testimony, or simply be confused, 10 years later. Given the contradictions, some of it has to have been invented, but Fuhrman allows himself to pick and choose to build a case. Call me a dumb layperson, but I find his arguments unconvincing. According to Fuhrman, it is suspicious that Michael Schiavo gives various estimates of when he got home from the restaurant. This might be a red flag worth pursuing, but in the end it's too long before Terri Schiavo's collapse to be obviously important. Maybe it just shows that Michael had a terrible sense of time. Maybe he did have an argument with his wife - his statement to the police implies at least some little disagreement, but the one cited by her friends wasn't around the time of her collapse. Again, worth checking, but not a smoking gun. And why is it suspicious that Michael hearing a thud, would think it might be his wife? After all, her half of the bed was empty, she was obviously up. Maybe it didn't sound like a cat jumping down from something. At the end, he suggests that Governor Jeb Bush convene a grand jury. In his haste to publish, Fuhrman not only missed the autopsy, he missed the report from Florida State Attorney, Bernie McCabe, on the subject of further investigation of abuse. It is published in Michael Schiavo's book and is a complete refutation of Fuhrman. The study concluded that whatever time Schiavo thought he got up, he consistently claimed that he attended to his wife immediately. It points out that the Schindlers had an even worse sense of time: they originally said that Schiavo called between 3 am and 4 am; the 911 call was at 5:40 am. Further, the investigators were unable to fathom how evidence of abuse could have been missed in the intense examination of Terri Schiavo when she first went to the hospital. Rather a waste of trees.more
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