She seeks to save dead lover's sperm

June 04, 1993|By Los Angeles Daily News

LOS ANGELES -- A woman whose lover willed her 15 vials of his frozen semen before committing suicide asked a state appellate court to overturn a judge's order that the sperm be destroyed.

But the dead man's ex-wife contends in the case before the 2nd District Court of Appeal that it would be unwise for society to permit a dead man to father a child.

Attorneys say William Everett Kane spent six weeks preparing for his suicide Oct. 30, 1991, in a Las Vegas hotel, including making a bequest that his sperm be given to his girlfriend, Deborah Ellen Hecht, 38, so she could get pregnant.

But Mr. Kane's children -- represented by attorney Sandra McMahan Irwin, Mr. Kane's ex-wife and their mother -- contested his will and asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to destroy the sperm, which is stored at the California Cryobank Inc. in the Los Angeles area of Westwood.

Last December, Judge Edward M. Ross ordered the frozen semen destroyed, saying only that other options were unsatisfactory and that an appellate ruling was needed to bring the law up to date with science.

Mr. Kane's children, William, 21, and Katharine, 19, are concerned that if Ms. Hecht had Mr. Kane's baby, the child later might establish an inheritance claim.

The children also have filed a wrongful-death suit against Ms. Hecht, charging she assisted in and failed to prevent the suicide of their father, who was depressed over financial difficulties after losing his job.

Mr. Kane -- described by attorneys as a brilliant but eccentric real-estate entrepreneur -- died after taking an overdose of sleeping pills and suffocating himself with a plastic bag, according to court documents.

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