Terri Schiavo's Parents and Sister Speak Out

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Mar. 23, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: We start tonight with Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler. Thank you both very much once again for being on "Hannity & Colmes."

Mrs. Schindler, let me ask you, what is your next step here? What are you now prepared to do?


COLMES: Mrs. — Mary, please.



MARY SCHINDLER, TERRI SCHIAVO'S MOTHER: What do we expect to do now? Well...

HANNITY: What's the next step, Mary? Let me just say you got out of seeing Terri just moments ago. You had been denied an opportunity to see her all day.

M. SCHINDLER:Yes, from about 3 to about 7:30 we were denied to see her.


M. SCHINDLER:I don't know. They didn't tell us why. They didn't tell us why...

HANNITY: What was her condition when you saw her?

M. SCHINDLER: She's getting that look in her face where she's real gaunt-looking. You know, she's very, very tired and she doesn't look good at all.

HANNITY: What were your thoughts when you saw her?

R. SCHINDLER: Well, I agree with Mary. You can see it's taking its toll where her face is getting shallow, but she still was responsive. And talking, but with no volume, like it's very, very low. I could put my ear down and — yes, we're at a critical time now and I don't know that — that she's going to hold out much longer before she loses consciousness.

HANNITY: Today was not a good day for you guys. It started early this morning with the three-judge panel, the 11th Circuit won't hear the case. You lost 10-2 there.

The Florida Senate, you lost 21-8. Jeb [Bush] held out hope and immediately Judge Greer came in and seemed to close the door at least on the Department of Children and Families.

What is the latest on that? What is your lawyer telling you is the next move?

R. SCHINDLER: Well, that's like a legal quagmire from where I stand because Greer really shouldn't be sitting on the case. He's been subpoenaed by Congress and he has no authority. But he snubbed his nose at Congress. You know, he's still sitting on the case. And legally, he should not be on the case and be making these decisions but there he is. So he's in contempt of Congress, Greer is.

HANNITY: I'm going to get back to that in a second and I agree. There's a lot we have to get to, and I want to get what you think about what you want the governor to do.

Mary, I wanted to ask you because you haven't been on with us the last couple of nights and one of the things I keep going back to, this is your daughter right across the street from here.


HANNITY: Here you were denied seeing her for five hours today. Here you just went in and just got out from seeing her. And you are, as the mother of this girl, you cannot give her any water, any ice chips, any anything. You get basically almost strip-searched going in there. What is that like for you?

M. SCHINDLER: I do. I don't — as a — well, as anybody, to see somebody that you love with all your heart lying there, you know she's dying. I can't do anything for her. I'm pleading with people to help her, and it seems like nobody listens and she's starving to death.

R. SCHINDLER: I can be a little more adamant about that. They're murdering her. It is judicial homicide. What Greer's doing now just proves that he's intent with killing Terri. He has a way of saving her and a way that he won't lose face but he's resolved to kill her.

And one more thing. The doctor that the governor presented out of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, confirmed that Terri is not in a persistent vegetative state. We've been screaming that for the past God knows how many years, and that's one of the conditions that would stop the state from executing her.

HANNITY: What do you want the governor to do now? I mean, the governor basically laid out a case where he was going to use the Department of Children and Families today.

Judge Greer — I quoted — I talked to a constitutional attorney before I came on. He feels that the judge set a trap for him that if he goes in and takes her he'll hold the governor in contempt.

Is there another avenue that you feel the governor can use? And what do you want to say to the governor?

R. SCHINDLER: Well, I would think that acting — or using the DCF as an instrument apparently has been stopped by this Judge Greer. However, the governor does have executive powers.

COLMES: Mr. Schindler, it's Alan back in New York again. Mary good to have you on the show. Thank you for doing on our show tonight, as well.

M. SCHINDLER:Thank you.

COLMES: Let me go back to what I had asked a moment ago, see if we get a more — a fuller answer here. What are you — what is your next legal step? Are you going to file tomorrow morning at the Supreme Court?

R. SCHINDLER: Well, the attorneys I just talked to a few minutes ago, and I believe that they're filing with the Supreme Court. And I know there will be more filings with the DCF tomorrow. I'm not sure what that is, but you know, there's legal maneuvering. It's a legal quagmire is what's happening.

COLMES: Right.

R. SCHINDLER: And I'm a legal neophyte. I don't know the ins and outs of it, but I know there's some action being taken.

And as I mentioned to Sean Hannity, that I believe the governor can step aside from the DCF and use his own executive powers, you know, to come in here and take Terri into custody. And she has to get, start getting hydration, because if she doesn't she's not going to be with us much longer. It's as simple as that.

COLMES: Mary, when the circuit court said, as it did last night, that the parents, and I'm quoting what they said, "failed to demonstrate a substantial case on the merits of their claims," how do you respond to that statement by the judge?

M. SCHINDLER: Well, it seems like the — everything that we said, he didn't take as "clear and convincing" evidence. And everything that Michael's side clear was "clear and convincing." So I don't know. I don't know what to say about that.

COLMES: Robert, why do you think it is that so many of the courts have sided with Michael? Why do you think that is?

R. SCHINDLER: What I think you're seeing now is a display where the judicial system is, they're flexing their muscles. They're showing who's in command of this country. And we're not. The public is not, and the people you elect to Congress are not. The judges are. And woe to this country with those people in power. We've lost control.

COLMES: Mary, one of the things the court acknowledged, it acknowledged how agonizing this is, how agonizing it is for the family but they go back to the idea that this is a matter of Terri's rights, that it's about her freedom and her liberty and that's what they're claiming is — is what rules here. Where are they wrong by making that statement?

M. SCHINDLER: Well, it wasn't Terri's wishes, as far as I'm concerned. It's Michael's wishes.

And I think Terri, what she was talking about, if she ever said that was a ventilator. I don't think she was ever talking about a feeding tube. My daughter would not want to be starved to death. No one would want to be starved to death.

R. SCHINDLER: Let me add one more thing. The court was totally wrong with Terri's condition being a PVS, which came out today. And they're totally wrong on Terri's wishes. That's a fabricated story, and Schiavo recently just admitted on another interview that it wasn't Terri's wishes. It was his wish.

COLMES: We're going to pick it up right there in a second.

HANNITY: Your daughter's going to join us in a minute.


HANNITY: And you're going to stay with us one more time.

COLMES: We're going to pick it up right there in just a second. You are looking live at the United States Supreme Court, where we're expecting an appeal to be filed tomorrow in the case of Terri Schiavo.


HANNITY: As we continue on "Hannity & Colmes," I'm Sean Hannity. We are outside the hospice where right behind me where Terri Schiavo has now been entering — will be entering now the sixth day without food or hydration.

We continue with Bob Schiavo. He is the father of Terri Schiavo. And Terri's sister, Suzanne Vitadamo, is with us.

And you just got done seeing Terri, as well?


HANNITY: What did you think of her condition now?

VITADAMO: It's very difficult to go in and see Terri as each day passes. And you know, she's beginning to look very gaunt and very drawn and thirsty. And she's...

HANNITY: You can see changes?

VITADAMO: Well, you know, she's still trying to communicate with us, but her voice is different. It's dry. It's like when your mouth is dry or when your throat is dry. So this is — it's very difficult.

HANNITY: Does it get to the point for both of you —that it's a little surreal, that you're at the point where she is literally right behind us dying and you can't do anything?

VITADAMO: Absolutely.

HANNITY: And every decision seems to be going against you in the flurry today.

VITADAMO: You know, I'm a parent. I have an 1-year-old and I can't imagine that any parent would have to sit back and imagine that they have to watch their child starve to death and there's not a thing they can do about it. It's just an awful, awful thing.

HANNITY: When you think of Michael, there are two women, for example, Frances Kessler (ph) and Trudy Capone (ph), both said that Michael said he didn't know what Terri's wishes were as it relates to a situation like this.

When you think of him in this particular case out there fighting and fighting the way he is in this particular thing, what's going through his mind? Why do you think he's doing this?

R. SCHINDLER: I've said that before. We've eliminated all the possibilities other than his motive has to protect himself.

HANNITY: Because you believe he's responsible?

R. SCHINDLER: Absolutely. No doubt in my mind.

HANNITY: Do you believe that, too, Suzanne?

VITADAMO: I do. I do believe that.

HANNITY: Here we are in a situation where the governor, I think, is trying to set it up today so that they could take state custody and then it appears Michael's attorneys right stepped in. Judge Greer, his best partner in life, stopped it.

What do you want the governor to do now? What is your hope at this point? The Supreme Court, a lot of people say it's a long shot that they'll take this case.

VITADAMO: I'm hoping that there are still some legal avenues that the governor can take beyond Judge Greer whether it's appealing the decision to the Second District Court of Appeals and they can go that route and try to get relief there.

But I find it very difficult to believe that the governor's state agency has been blocked from doing their job. I can't believe that.

COLMES: Mr. Schindler and Suzanne, it's Alan Colmes once again. And thank you both again for coming on the program. Thank you, Suzanne, for being with us again tonight.


COLMES: Suzanne, the court cases have always seemed to revolve around what — claiming what Terri wants and saying that this would be her wishes. Every court is wrong; every decision is wrong.

Is there a possibility that the court is obeying her wishes and that, while it may not be your wishes and might be extremely painful for you, they are acting on what they believe would be what she would want in this case?

VITADAMO: You know, Alan, absolutely not. And you know, one judge, Judge Greer, found that Terri had these alleged wishes. And then you had a couple or three appellate judges that upheld this decision.

There's not a litany of judges that agree with him. I believe Judge Greer was wrong. Those wishes were fabricated. They are hearsay evidence. And I know my sister. She would never in a million years want to be starved to death.

COLMES: We keep showing this videotape, Mr. Schindler, and it's been shown a lot on the newscasts and on cable news. And it was from, I think, four or five years ago.

Many neurologists say that you can track objects, you can have some limited responses but that there is no awareness in that. Much of the brain, the cortex is going that that those videotapes that we keep showing don't accurately reflect how aware, or lack thereof, she is.

R. SCHINDLER: There's 33 doctors that have affidavits with the court in front of judge Greer saying Terri is not in PVS.

COLMES: Did they examine her? Did those 33 examine her?

R. SCHINDLER: No. We did not examine here. We do have doctors that did examine her that say that she was not PVS. But now Judge Greer would not accept that as credible.

Let's see how credible Judge Greer is with the decision he is making now. He wanted to do it from the get-go and he's been on a death crusade from the get-go.

HANNITY: Do you want to add something, Suzanne?

VITADAMO: I was going to add that just — there's three doctors that say that she's in PVS. And there's many others that disagree with her.

HANNITY: Guys, I'm very sorry you're going through this. And I hope it gets resolved the way you want very shortly. I really do.

VITADAMO: Thank you.

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