Judge Larry Seidlin says he will reach a decision by Friday regarding custody of Smith's remains

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated February 21, 2007 12:25 PM
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Florida Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin says he will reach a decision by Friday as to who will get custody of the remains of Anna Nicole Smith, who died Feb. 8.

“We’re going to try to fashion a remedy where not everybody gets what they want,” said the jurist.

The judge’s assurance for closure in this chapter of the case comes after a warning from Florida’s Broward County’s medical examiner that the longer it takes for the body to be buried, the more the remains will decompose and thereby endanger the opportunity for a public viewing, the Associated Press reports.

In fact, during a break from testimony on Wednesday, Smith’s estranged mother, Virgie Arthur, and Howard K. Stern, each took the 15-minute drive to the Broward County Medical Examiner’s office in order to view Smith’s remains.

On Wednesday, Arthur took the stand and, in tearful testimony, said her daughter should be buried in her home state of Texas.

Stern, Smith’s companion, had earlier testified that Smith requested burial in the Bahamas, along with her son, Daniel.

“She was a Texas girl. She went out and made her way in the world. That was her goal, to become a model,” said her mother. “But she always was going to come home.” (See CNN.com’s video from inside the Smith court battle.)

Asked if Smith might have changed her mind in the intervening years, Arthur replied: “She’s been on drugs the last 10 years. … That person is not my daughter. It’s not her mind. It’s not her free-loving spirit. She loved all of us.”

Describing Anna Nicole’s alleged habit, Arthur said, “She was on Valium. She liked downers. She didn’t like uppers.”

At one point in the proceedings Judge Seidlin asked Arthur if she knew where she was going to be buried.

“In Houston,” she responded.

“And you picked out a plot. How many years ago did you do that?” asked the judge.

“Years ago,” replied Arthur. “When they were kids.”

“I have to write a will one day,” Seidlin wisecracked about the prospect of his own demise.

Stern attorney Krista Barth asked Arthur if she would have any objections to Anna Nicole’s being buried next to her son, Daniel (in the Bahamas).

“No,” replied Arthur.

Also being decided, in a California court, is the paternity of Smith’s 5-month-old daughter, Dannielynn, who is likely to inherit Smith’s fortune, which could amount to as much as $88 million – Smith’s share of the estimated $500 million left by her late husband, oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, who died in 1995.

Stern is listed as the father on the child’s birth certificate, but photographer Larry Birkhead, who once dated Smith, also claims to be the father.