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Overheard

"It was either me die or her."

_ Former Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Charles Trice, testifying in his murder trial that he was forced to shoot his wife, Darla, with his .357-magnum revolver when she lunged at him with a paring knife.

"She speaks to you from the grave through her friends and the people who knew her, after he thought he had silenced her permanently."

_ Prosecutor Karen Cox, in closing arguments in the Trice case, on testimony that Darla had predicted her husband would kill her. A jury deliberated seven hours before returning a guilty verdict against Trice.

"I think that would be the best thing that could happen to all the schoolchildren in this country."

_ Timothy Vetromile, whose 16-year-old son _ a Plant High School wrestler _ was killed during a drug deal, on the Supreme Court decision allowing mandatory drug testing of public school athletes.

"I was thinking of a Rolex, and he wanted the factory."

_ Carol Ann May, who won $20-million in a divorce settlement from her husband, an auto parts manufacturer, on her attorney, Stephen Sessums. After May refused to pay Sessums the $1-million bonus he demanded, he sued her in Hillsborough Circuit Court.

"All I've ever wanted to do in a science center in my life is what we've done."

_ Wit Ostrenko, president of Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry, on the $35-million expansion that will make MOSI the largest science center in the southeast.

"They call me the Lone Ranger, Quicksilver, all kinds of gunfighter names. It comes with the territory ... But nothing can hurt me now. If I took a gun wound to the leg, maybe I'm disaster-proof."

_ Tampa Bay Bucs running back Anthony McDowell, after recovering from firing a 9mm Beretta handgun through his leg while driving.

"I just think it's my responsibility to make sure we don't get swept up in millions of dollars of extra costs."

_ Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman, defending his notion that if new schools are built, the bill for any needed roads and sewers ought to go to the School Board instead of the County Commission _ even though county taxpayers would foot the bill either way.

"Of course, Steinbrenner is not anybody's idea of a moral exemplar. He would probably offer a contract to Saddam Hussein if he could bat .350."

_ Syndicated columnist Mona Charen, weighing in on New York Yankees' boss George Steinbrenner's hiring of legally troubled Darryl Strawberry.

"I think for a man as busy as he is to offer himself in a position of leadership is commendable. Every time you turn around, he's helping somebody."

_ Long-time Florida State Fair Authority member Doyle Carlton Jr., on the potential state nomination of Steinbrenner to head up the fair authority.

"I'm just a domestic floor slave. Sometimes at parties, I serve pretzels and stuff."

_ Joan L. Hutkin, one of several people arrested last week at what police said was a sexual fantasy dungeon in Thonotosassa.

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