Jury: Daniel Smith died of overdose

Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 31, 2008 at 7:52 p.m.

A Bahamas jury ruled Monday that Anna Nicole Smith's son died from an accidental drug overdose, just like his mother.

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Daniel Smith

The Associated Press

The seven-member jury, which deliberated for less than two hours, recommended no criminal charges in the September 2006 death of 20-year-old Daniel Smith.

The son of the former Playboy playmate died after coming to the Bahamas to meet his new baby sister on Sept. 10, 2006. His mother died early the next year in Florida from an accidental drug overdose at age 39.

Police had said there was no evidence of homicide, and autopsies found that Daniel died from a combination of drugs, including methadone and antidepressants. But Bahamian authorities ordered the inquest amid widespread speculation over the circumstances surrounding his death.

In its ruling, the jury said the cause of death was "nondependent use of drugs,'' meaning that Daniel Smith was not addicted and was not aware the drugs in his system would kill him.

The inquest began in November and heard from more than two dozen witnesses.

Anna Nicole's former boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, testified that Daniel was a troubled young man who struggled with drugs and alcohol. But Smith's boyfriend and attorney Howard K. Stern said he was surprised at the autopsy report and said he had never seen Daniel using drugs.

Stern, who came to the Bahamas with Anna Nicole during her pregnancy in 2006, initially claimed he was the father of her infant daughter, Dannielynn. He gave up custody last spring after DNA tests proved Birkhead was the father.

Dannielynn has been named the sole heir of her late mother's estate, with Birkhead and Stern as co-trustees.

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