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Smith's Body, Legal Battles Off To Bahamas

Three weeks after her death, what killed Anna Nicole Smith has yet to be determined, although one report says it was pneumonia.

But we do know her body is headed for the Bahamas to be buried next to her son, Daniel.

People are already arriving in the Bahamas, and preparations are under way for Smith's burial. At the Nassau Cemetery where smith will be buried, barricades are up and people are already starting to arrive.

Craig Butler's family funeral home, which helped bury smith's son, is expected to handle her funeral as well, reports CBS News correspondent Bianca Solorzano.

"I'm sure that my family will adhere to the wishes of the family or whoever is in charge of disposing of the remains of Anna Nicole," Butler said.

The decision in a Florida Appeals Court was a victory for Smith's companion Howard K. Stern and Richard Milstein, the court appointed lawyer for Smith's daughter, Dannielynn.

It was a defeat for Smith's estranged mother, Virgie Arthur, who fought to have her daughter buried in her home state of Texas. In the end three judges decided what matters most is where Smith herself wanted to be buried.

"The will of the decedent, their wants, should be declared paramount," Judge Mark Polen said.

Attorney Roy Black said that it was highly unusual that Judge Larry Seidlin's court took six days to come to a conclusion, especially when the appeals court makes the decision in just a few hours.


Anna Nicole Smith: The Latest Photos

Photos: Anna Nicole Smith


"The interesting thing is the 4th district court of appeals decided this case in a few hours," he told The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm. "They heard the oral argument, issued an opinion in the afternoon. They said the most important thing is where she wanted to be buried. Forget all the statutes, all the other things, she wanted to be buried in the Bahamas so let it be done."

At one point there was talk that Arthur would appeal the decision to the state supreme court but Black said she didn't have the legal basis for it because the decision was so clear-cut.

"Not only that, it would take a substantial period of time, and I think everybody recognizes this has to be over and Anna Nicole should be buried," he said.

In another Florida courtroom Wednesday, a judge tossed the paternity suit over Dannielynn back to California, where Larry Birkhead, who claims to be the father, first filed. Birkhead was granted the right to a DNA sample from Smith's body. The DNA and a custody battle over the baby will continue in the Bahamas where the she is living.

"We now move on to the Bahamas and continue the hearing for March 16 where we fully anticipate there will be a DNA order," Larry Birkhead's attorney, Debra Opri said.

Black said the judge's ruling was a logical one.

"You want to establish paternity, you want custody, you have to do that in the Bahamas. We've been saying all along, they should have been there a long time ago," he said. "Why are you wasting time in Florida on this?"

But now Stern and Birkhead have to gear up for a difficult fight. Even if Stern isn't the father, his name is on the birth certificate and Black says that carries a lot of weight. But Stern, for whatever reason, has been delaying the paternity testing, Black said.

"He knows at the end of the day, at the end of the proceeding there's going to be a DNA test done on the baby," Black said. "I can't imagine there's no way that's going to occur because determining who the biological father is, is important. It's going to happen."

There has been some talk of Arthur trying to obtain custody of Dannielynn but Black said chances of that are slim. The child will likely be placed with her biological father.

"If she could prove he's incompetent or it's not in the best interest of the child for him to take custody, then perhaps they would have a chance," Black said. "But there's absolutely no indication that's the case."
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