NASSAU, Bahamas – A former companion of Anna Nicole Smith said Wednesday that her attorney-turned-boyfriend Howard K. Stern took several photographs of the collapsed body of her late 20-year-old son for profit.
G. Ben Thompson, a South Carolina developer, testified that Stern took about four pictures of Daniel Smith's body after he died Sept. 10, 2006, while visiting his celebrity mother three days after she gave birth to her daughter in a Bahamian hospital.
Stern said the photographs "might be worth some money one day," according to Thompson, who was embroiled in an ownership dispute with Stern over the Nassau mansion where he lived with Anna Nicole before her Feb. 8 death of a prescription drug overdose.
"I was totally shocked he was taking pictures of a dead child laying in that bed," Thompson testified at the inquest into the death while being questioned by an attorney for Anna Nicole's long-estranged mother, Virgie Arthur.
Stern's attorney Shaka Serville said Thompson first made the allegations in October 2007 while appearing on a TV show hosted by Geraldo Rivera. Serville accused him of fabricating the statement about Stern as retaliation over the dispute for the $900,000 estate.
Thompson, who briefly dated Anna Nicole, says he advanced her money for the Nassau mansion but she did not honor an agreement to repay the debt. Anna Nicole, who lived there with Stern in the months before her death, claimed the house was a gift.
Serville said that Stern, who is the executor of Anna Nicole's estate, took the photographs of the young man's body to prove to her that Daniel was indeed dead. Witnesses have said she was highly distraught after his collapse.
The developer's son, Gayther Thompson, also testified Wednesday. He alleged that Stern appeared to dispose of two white pills that he had found in Daniel's clothes after his collapse in the hospital room.
An autopsy concluded that Daniel Smith died from a combination of drugs, including methadone and antidepressants. Police have said there is no evidence of homicide. So far, about 32 witnesses have testified before a Bahamian jury, which will formally determine what killed him.
Testimony in the inquest is adjourned until March 17, while court officials seek testimony from witnesses including Anna Nicole's ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead, the father of the late Playboy Playmate's 1-year-old daughter.