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Published September 14, 2006

Jurors hear testimony in first-degree murder case

TAMPA - Jurors heard damaging testimony Wednesday in the trial of a woman accused of paying a man to kill her on-again, off-again lover.

Today, they will hear from Joshua Singletary, who claims he doused Charles "Chuck" Rock with gasoline and set him on fire Aug. 10, 2003, on Elizabeth Jewell Williams' orders. The defense argues Singletary is testifying to avoid the death penalty.

Williams, 40, of Pinecrest is on trial this week for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

"She was obsessed with him," Michael E. Johnson, Rock's former brother-in-law, testified Wednesday. "She just couldn't seem to move on after they were separated."

"I don't hurt people," he recalled her saying. "I pay people to hurt people."

Former city attorney to help Expressway Authority

TAMPA - When he finished his stint as Mayor Pam Iorio's interim city attorney in 2004, Fred Karl vowed he was leaving government work for good.

Not so fast.

Now 82, Karl is part of the team of advisers hired by the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority, a toll road agency rocked by allegations of improprieties.

On Monday, Expressway Authority board members voted to hire the Fowler White law firm as the agency's interim legal counsel. The firm's partner, Rhea Law, said she asked Karl join her team to help the agency cooperate with the Florida's auditor general's office as it probes the agency's finances, operations and ethics policies.

Four teens in hospital after car crashes into wall

TAMPA - Three Alonso High School students and a friend were taken to a hospital Wednesday afternoon after one of the teens crashed into a wall while trying to drive around a curve, authorities said.

Johan Camacho, 17, of 12433 Cardriff Drive was driving east on Monterey Boulevard, near Queensland Lane, when he crashed, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said. He and his three passengers were taken to St. Joseph's Children's Hospital.

Deputies said Camacho was listed in serious condition. Passenger Sheila Melendez, 15, of 10202 Bonnie Bay Court was listed in critical condition. Joshua Medina, 15, with an unknown address, was listed in serious condition.

And Ghislaine Murillo, 14, of 5402 Ginger Cove Drive, Apartment A, was listed in critical condition. Deputies said Murillo does not attend school .

Interstate 275 ramp closed while hole in road is fixed

TAMPA - Drivers trying to get onto northbound Interstate 275 from Ashley Drive hit a snag Wednesday in the form of a big hole, which closed the on ramp from 6:30 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m.

Early Thursday, a contractor spotted the hole, which was 10 feet wide and 12 feet deep, in the embankment and shoulder. At 2 p.m., Florida Department of Transportation spokesman John McShaffrey said, workers were filling it with an entire truckload of concrete.

McShaffrey said the department was not yet sure what had caused the hole. While unusual, he said, similar holes tend to appear when water erodes the dirt under a road.

[Last modified September 14, 2006, 01:05:53]

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