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Trice's money raises questions

For the family of Darla Trice, the fight to see Charles Trice convicted of her murder has ended. But the battle over the Trices' 4-year-old daughter, Christina, may just be starting.

Thursday, Charles Trice's attorney Bennie Lazzara Jr. asked a judge to release Trice's proceeds from the sale of the couple's Plant City home to pay for Trice's legal fees. The large brick house, which the Trices built after they won the Fantasy Five lottery, sold for $272,000. About $120,000 was left after the mortgage was paid.

Half that money was expected to go to Trice and half to Christina. But because of the seriousness of the charges against Trice and the risk that he could flee, Hillsborough Circuit Judge F. Dennis Alvarez ordered the funds held until Trice's trial. Trice, 41, was convicted late Tuesday of the first-degree murder of his 26-year-old wife.

At a hearing Thursday, D. Howard Stitzel III, attorney for Darla Trice's mother Nadine White, asked the judge to hold off on releasing the money. Stitzel said Christina may have "a superior interest" to the funds, and he is considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against Trice on behalf of the child.

Alvarez gave Stitzel until July 6 to come up with case law on the matter. The judge said he also is considering appointing a pro bono attorney to represent Christina's interests.

The little girl is living with Trice's parents. Mrs. White plans to seek full custody of the child.