Colorado

Feb 26, 2010 12:44 PM by Abby Lane, Greg Boyce

Arguments begin in cryonics case

Colorado Springs Probate Judge Barbara Hughes is hearing the strange case of Mary Robbins, who died from cancer a couple of weeks ago.  She had wanted her body placed at Alcor in Arizona, a non-profit organization that stores human remains in very cold temperatures in hopes science will someday make it possible to revive them.

Robbins agreed to this procedure in 2006, but her family says after she because ill will cancer a few months ago she changed her mind.  A few days before her death she changed the beneficiary of her will, meaning Alcor would no longer get the $50,000 that would pay for the cryonic procedure.

The day after Robbins died, at a local mortuary, Alcor claimed the body and began packing the head in dry ice each day.

Today, Mary Robbin's grandson and his wife are in the courtroom in a hearing that is scheduled to last all day.  Lawyers are talking about the laws that can be applied in this case, including the anatomical gift act, and last remains act.

Those who will be called as witnesses are not allowed in court except when they are on the witness stand. 

News First filed a request to put a camera in the courtroom for today's proceedings, but it was denied.

Judge Hughes is trying to determine if there was a cancellation of the agreement with Alcor under the last remains act and whether there was anything in writing by Mary Robbins that revoked that declaration.

The first witness was Joan Teslow, the attorney who did Robbins' estate planning in 2006.

The next witness is Jennifer Chapman of Alcor.  She is testifying by phone.  She was in charge of memberships at Alcor when Robbins signed up.

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