Thursday's dramatic decision in the Anna Nicole Smith case appeared to have the dead starlet's body headed for burial in the Bahamas, but a legal appeal by Smith's mother, who wants her daughter buried in her native Texas, could delay any movement of Smith's remains.
After a week of judicial antics from both the judge and the litigants, Judge Larry Seidlin finally handed custody of Smith's body to the court-appointed legal guardian for her baby daughter, Dannielynn Hope Marshall.
Should Thursday's ruling stand, Smith's body will be sent to the Bahamas to be buried next to her son, Daniel, who died there in September.
"I want them to be together," said Seidlin, crying as he made the announcement to the assembled parties.
Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur, appealed the decision on Thursday afternoon, so the body will not be moved until the appeal is decided.
Smith's body has been kept in cold storage while Arthur and two men claiming to be her lover and the father of her infant daughter have fought bitterly over custody of the body.
The initial decision to send the body to the Bahamas is not a surprising one, according to legal experts, because Smith purchased a plot next to her son's.
Judicial Antics Dragged Out Case
The paparazzilike attention the trial received was fueled in part by the eccentricities of Seidlin, who dragged out the decision on what to do with the body and delivered it with so much emotion that one would have thought he had personally known Smith.
His courtroom antics kept millions of Americans glued to their screens to see what he would say next.
At one point, an exasperated Seidlin told the lawyers before him, "In the old days, I'd be bangin' some heads together, if you were alone in my chambers. … I tell ya, my blood pressure would go up, and [I'd] find out who the father is. … It's enough baloney here."
But the baloney didn't just come from the lawyers and the litigants. Legal experts say the judge dragged out the case.
"[It] could have been a couple of witnesses, could have been half a day. Instead, it stretched out to over a week that has frankly had the Florida legal community scratching their head and rolling their eyes," Kendall Coffey, a former Florida district attorney, told "Good Morning America."
But the judge's longtime friends are rallying to his defense.
"He's made for television. The ratings have gone through the roof. I mean, what war in Iraq? This week has been all about Larry Seidlin," said Garry Ostrow, Seidlin's friend.
What Seidlin did make clear, over the course of the week and when he delivered his verdict, was that all parties in the case should act in the best interests of Smith's daughter, Dannielynn.
"You should all do the right thing by this Danny. … Dannielynn," an emotional Seidlin told the courtroom.
For a brief, astonishing moment, the three bitter adversaries promised to do just that, pledging to work together.
"We all loved Anna, and it's in her best interests to come together and get this thing worked out for her -- to lay her to rest," said Larry Birkhead, one of the men claiming to be Dannielynn's father.
This isn't the end of the Anna Nicole Smith cases.
The custody battle between Birkhead and Howard K. Stern to determine who is Dannielyn's father begins this morning, in the same Broward County Court building.