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Ex-Playmate Says She Was Stalked

Van Nuys: Anna Nicole Smith testifies at a preliminary hearing that former boyfriend Mark Hatten threatened her repeatedly and badly beat up her neighbor.

July 12, 2002|SUFIYA ABDUR-RAHMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith was in court again Thursday, this time at a preliminary hearing involving an ex-boyfriend who she said called her repeatedly, came to her house uninvited and beat up her neighbor after she broke up with him.

"I'm very scared of this man because he's crazy," Smith testified at the hearing for Mark Richmond Hatten in Van Nuys Superior Court.

Hatten, 34, of Los Angeles, was ordered to stand trial on July 25 on charges of battery, assault with a deadly weapon, terrorist threats and stalking from June 2000 to March 2002. If convicted, he could face seven to eight years in prison.

Smith, 34, testified that she met Hatten, an artist who also promotes auto dealerships, shortly before the March 2000 Academy Awards and began a sexual relationship with him "around Oscar time" that year.

The relationship ended in June 2000 after he approached her with a knife in the bedroom of her North Hollywood home, Smith said, adding that she did not call police to report the incident.

Hatten continued to call her, she said, leaving messages on her home and cell phones several times a day.

Sometimes, she would find him or items he had left for her inside her gated property.

Smith testified that on March 25 of this year, Hatten called and said he was coming over with a gun. He arrived soon after, she said.

"I was holding my [16-year-old] son and we were just freaking out," Smith said.

Fearing for their safety, Smith's personal assistant, Kimberly Walther, testified that she called a neighbor and asked him to persuade Hatten to leave.

Rene Navarro, the neighbor, said he tried to talk Hatten into leaving. Instead, Navarro said Hatten punched him to the ground and kicked him repeatedly.

Navarro, who wore a cast on his left arm, said he had to have surgery on hand ligaments that were torn when he tried to block Hatten's blows.

Smith said she called the police that day and once before when Hatten showed up at her house and she asked him to leave.

She couldn't remember the date of the earlier incident and said police did not arrest him at that time.

She said she did not involve the authorities more because she was in litigation over the estate of her husband, J. Howard Marshall--who died in 1995 at age 90--and didn't want the negative publicity. Smith won an $89-million judgment in that case on March 7. Marshall's son, E. Pierce Marshall, is appealing the award.

Defense attorney Peter Knecht said Smith had a sporadic, two-year sexual relationship with Hatten, despite Smith's testimony that she only dated him for only three months.

Knecht said Smith brought charges against Hatten "to silence him. It's not good for her civil suit." He added, "I don't think she's interested in these charges. She's interested in her money."

Hatten, who has no prior criminal record, is being held at the North County Correctional Facility in Saugus in lieu of $300,000 bail.

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