Judge orders new DNA test on Smith's body
EmptyFORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A judge ordered another DNA sample be taken from Anna Nicole Smith's body Thursday as he heard often fiery arguments in the fight over the former Playboy Playmate's remains and custody of her infant daughter.
The swab of Smith's cheek was to be taken in the afternoon, despite the objections of attorneys for her longtime companion, Howard K. Stern, and her estranged mother, Vergie Arthur, and testimony from the medical examiner and DNA experts that such an additional sample was likely not necessary.
Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin said he wanted to make sure all samples were taken before Smith was buried, so her body wouldn't have to be exhumed.
"When we bury her, I want it to be forever," he said in the second day of an emergency hearing.
Smith, 39, died Feb. 8 after collapsing at a Florida hotel.
As the proceedings dragged on, investigators in the Bahamas went into a mansion that Stern and Smith shared, though the officers declined to say why they were there. Stern filed a burglary report claiming a computer, home videos and other items were taken from the house after Smith's death.
Stern claims he is executor of Smith's will and wants to have her buried next to her son in the Bahamas. Arthur wants her daughter buried in her home state of Texas.
"She sits here today to take her to Texas and put her in the ground all alone ... and it's sad and it's sick," Stern's lawyer, Krista Barth, told the judge in attacking Smith's mother.
Arthur's attorney, Stephen Tunstall, said his client "wants to take her home to Texas to bury her with the rest of her family." Arthur wiped tears away outside an elevator during a break in the proceedings.
Photographer Larry Birkhead hopes DNA taken from Smith will help prove he fathered the former centerfold's 5-month-old daughter, Dannielynn, who could inherit millions.
The judge has said the dispute could be lengthy. The hearing, which began Wednesday, stretched into the afternoon Thursday and was to continue Friday.
Debra Opri, an attorney for Birkhead, said earlier in a news release that she was satisfied DNA samples would be provided by Florida authorities. Opri has said Smith's DNA is needed to connect her with Dannielynn, and to help prove there was no baby switch.
Prince Frederic von Anhalt, the husband of the actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, has said he had a decade-long affair with Smith and may also be the father. He said he plans to file a paternity challenge in court and wants a DNA test.
Smith's body remained at the medical examiner's office, and Seidlin said it would stay there. "This body's not leaving Broward County till I make the ruling."
Smith was the widow of Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, whom she married in 1994 when he was 89 and she was 26. She had been fighting his family over his fortune since his death in 1995.
A judge in the Bahamas issued an injunction Tuesday preventing the baby from being taken out of the country until the custody case is resolved.
Arthur wants to be named guardian of her granddaughter and sought the order because she feared Stern would take the child from the Bahamas, her lawyer said.