Howard K. Stern’s case got a boost Thursday in the ongoing hearing to determine who will get control of Anna Nicole Smith’s remains.
Smith’s former bodyguard, Texas police officer Troy Hollier, told Florida Circuit Court Judge Larry Seidlin that Smith, who died on Feb. 8, had no sentimental feelings for her native Texas.
Smith’s mother, Virgie Arthur, hopes to bury Smith in a family plot there, while Stern says he is entitled to the body as the executor of Smith’s will and wants to carry out her wish to be buried next to her son Daniel in the Bahamas.
Hollier started working for Smith in 2002, when she was engaged in a legal battle with the family of her late husband, Texas oilman J. Howard Marshall, for a share of his fortune. The ongoing fight soured her feelings for the state, Hollier testified: “After the court case, it was nothing but bad.”
More recently, Hollier attended the funeral of Smith’s son Daniel, who died on Sept. 8 in the Bahamas. The day after Daniel’s burial there, Hollier said he was at her home with the grieving Smith and holding her hand. “She just stopped the conversation and said to me, ‘Troy, if anything happens to me, I need to be with Daniel.’ ”
Stern’s attorneys contend that Smith approved the purchase of two side-by-side burial plots able to hold four bodies, with the intent that Daniel, Smith, Stern and Smith’s daughter Danielynn all be buried in the Bahamas together.
Earlier on Thursday, Smith’s ex-boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, who is battling Stern over Dannielynn’s paternity and has aligned himself with Virgie Arthur for control of Smith’s body, testified about her alleged drug use during her pregnancy.
He claimed a pharmacy that posted a photo of Anna Nicole Smith labeled her a “VIP customer.” “I said, ‘This has got to stop,’ ” he testified.
Birkhead claimed Stern provided medications to Smith in April 2006, when she was four months pregnant and in the hospital for drug detoxification. Judge Seidlin is trying to determine Smith’s state of mind when she discussed where she wanted to be buried, and whether she was being given drugs by enablers or taking them herself when making those statements.
Asked by the judge whether Stern loved Smith, Birkhead replied, “I think he did and does, but I think as a result of that he didn’t do the things that could help her.”
In the hospital during that 2006 stay, Birkhead testified, “I repeatedly told her not to [take any drugs], and I watched and I stayed up almost 24 hours to make sure she didn’t.” But Smith didn’t stop, he said, and even threatened to call security to banish Birkhead if he didn’t leave the hospital.
Judge Seidlin asked, “What could you have done to pull her out of her pain?” Said Seidlin: “I guess pull her away from all the drugs, but she told me she needed them to survive.” He added: “Anna told me that if she didn’t take them, she could die.”
Birkhead did not identify any drugs, whether prescribed or not, by name.