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For ex-sheriff, it's about trust

Retired Hillsborough Sheriff Cal Henderson had a lot to say about his successor, David Gee, at Gee's swearing-in ceremony Tuesday.

Much of Henderson's speech covered familiar ground _ like the fact that Gee joined the department at such a young age he wasn't even old enough to buy his own revolver.

Henderson told the overflow audience at George Edgecomb Courthouse that he and Gee have been good friends for 16 years, meeting each other's relatives and spending time together on weekend hunting and fishing trips.

But even Gee was surprised at Henderson's passing mention of the fact that Gee is a trustee in Henderson's living trust.

A living trust goes into effect as soon as someone dies, unlike a will, which goes through the probate process before its provisions are executed.

"This just means that if Cal Henderson died, Sheriff Gee could, say, handle the funeral arrangements because maybe his wife would be too upset," sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said later.

"I didn't even know about that," Gee said Wednesday. "I guess that means he trusts me, which is good."

CLIMBING THE RANKS: After his celebration at the courthouse, Sheriff Gee hosted a promotional ceremony Wednesday night for the 30 department personnel whom he recently promoted to the ranks of captain, lieutenant, sergeant and corporal.

"We never really had promotional ceremonies for those people," Gee said, "and I think it's important to create some pomp and circumstance because these are important jobs with great responsibility."

The ceremony was held in St. Lawrence Catholic Church's Higgins Hall, which is named after Monsignor Laurence Higgins, one of the city's most powerful and well-known clergymen.

It cost the Sheriff's Office $400 to rent the hall, Carter said. There was seating for 250, but more like 300 showed up.

STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE: So a guy walks into a bar.

Breaks into a bar, actually, by throwing a concrete block through a window and crawling through it.

Then he falls asleep before he indulges in all that liquor _ his reason for breaking in in the first place.

Does he still get in trouble? Apparently, yes.

Sheriff's Office investigators say Bobby Wayne Stroud, 51, broke into Beanie's Bar, 2002 U.S. 41 in Ruskin, sometime early Thursday after the bar closed.

The owner found him a few hours later, asleep.

"He said he originally went in there to drink," said Carter, the sheriff's spokeswoman. "But he got tired, so he just laid down instead."

Sheriff's deputies charged him with burglary, a felony, and criminal mischief worth less than $1,000, a misdemeanor.

SUSPECTS IN SUBWAY KILLING: For those closely following the investigation into the December shooting at a Town 'N Country Subway restaurant, one name was conspicuously missing from Wednesday's indictment.

Nearly five weeks after one Subway worker was killed and another wounded when two masked gunmen stormed the restaurant, a grand jury has indicted two local teens in connection with the crime.

Marquis Devon Alexander, 16, of Tampa and Darrell Sebron Doby Jr., 19, of Riverview are charged with murder, attempted murder and two counts of armed robbery. According to the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office, Alexander entered the restaurant with .22-caliber handgun, and Doby drove the getaway car.

But Sheriff's Office reports say a third man, 18-year-old Phillip Austin Jr. of Tampa, is the gunman who fatally wounded Danielle Miller, a 22-year-old fashion design student. So why hasn't Austin been charged?

Maybe because authorities aren't exactly afraid he'll slip away. Austin is sitting in the Hillsborough County Jail on unrelated charges of carjacking, armed burglary and aggravated battery. His bond is $152,000.

Carter, the Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, was tightlipped on the matter but said the investigation is continuing.

"Right now we are still waiting for some evidence to come back from the lab," she said. "He's not going anywhere."

Contact Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler at (813) 226-3373 or svansicklersptimes.com. Contact Christopher Goffard at (813) 226-3337 or goffardsptimes.com.

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