As reported Thursday by The Tampa Bay Times, opening statements in the trial regarding the murder a Florida lottery winner, Abraham Shakespeare, began on Wednesday.
Dorice “DeeDee” Moore stands accused of killing Shakespeare, the Florida resident who won a $30 million jackpot in 2006. Shakespeare opted for the lump-sum payout of $17 million cash.
As described Wednesday by the Huffington Post, “Shakespeare could barely read, wrote his name in block letters and had given away most of his $17 million in lottery winnings when he became friends” with Moore.
Moore – 40 years old — is charged with one count of first-degree murder. If convicted, she faces life in prison. Shakespeare was 43.
In opening statements, according to The Tampa Bay Times, Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner said Moore — who met Shakespeare in 2008 — took control of his finances and swindled him out of what money he had left before fatally shooting him in 2009.
The evidence will show you within 60 days of having been divested of everything he owns to DeeDee Moore, all that’s left of Abraham Shakespeare is his decaying body in a grave under a concrete slab behind a house that (Moore) bought on highway 60 in Plant City, Fla.
The sad irony — Pruner said Moore gained Shakespeare’s trust by convincing him she was an author who wanted to write “a book about how people were taking advantage of him.”
Defense attorney Byron Hileman argued that the evidence against Moore is purely circumstantial
“There are no eyewitnesses who can testify that Ms. Moore shot and killed Mr. Shakespeare or was present when he was shot and killed or had any part carrying out his murder,” Hileman said.
He also argued that there was also no DNA that connects her to Shakespeare’s death.
But Pruner urged the jury — eight men and four women — to look closely at the evidence.
He informed them of how Moore tried to throw investigators off the case by engaging in a cruel scheme to con Shakespeare’s family into believing he was alive and well.
Pruner said Moore even faked a letter and sent it to to the worried family. In the bogus letter, “Shakespeare” said he was fine but could not come home.
Along with the phony letter, The Plant City Courier – and edition of the Tampa Tribune – reported Tuesday that Moore also sent text messages to his family and even had someone call his mother and pretend he was her son.
The Courier reported further that nearly six hours of videotaped interviews will also be played in court for jurors.
Moore’s attorneys filed a motion to suppress the damning footage.
However, at a hearing last week, detectives said it was Moore who contacted them. During the 10 months Shakespeare was missing, she called them frequently, sending text messages and requesting to talk to investigators in person.
“At certain times,” said David Wallace, a detective with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office where Shakespeare’s missing person’s report was opened, “it was almost like on a daily basis.”
Because Moore spoke voluntarily with detectives, Circuit Judge Emmett Lamar Battles ruled the tapes as admissible.
Detective Greg Thomas of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office told Moore he was tired of how many times she changed her account of Shakespeare’s death.
Moore kept telling them he was alive and coming back, Wallace said.
At other times, she said he was probably in Miami or Orlando, wishing to be left alone.
Polk County Detective Chad McConchie testified that — after Shakespeare’s cousin reported him missing in the summer of 2009 — Moore told investigators that Shakespeare was probably in Jamaica, or somewhere in the Caribbean.
Sometime later, she said he was gravely ill and “possibly in a nursing home in Orlando.”
When Moore spoke to detectives in January 2010, she said two men shot and killed Shakespeare but left her alive she could “get them more money.”
More damning testimony was delivered by Moore’s 39-year-old ex-husband — James Moore – who works in excavation.
He told the jury about the day in April 2009, when Dee Dee called and asked him to bring the backhoe she had purchased back to the house on State Road 60.
“She called me one afternoon, told me she had some debris and stuff from the house that she was remodeling,” he testified.
After delivering the backhoe, he said he went home and about two to three hours later, she called and asked him to come back and fill the hole.
When he returned, he said DeeDee was alone and sweaty, “like she had been working.”
He said he pushed the dirt back in the hole. But because it was dark, he didn’t notice what was inside.
Sadly, Shakespeare’s lottery tragedy began the day he bought the ticket.
In May 2007, The Saint Petersburg Times reported that Shakespeare won his millions after he, and a co-worker – Michael. L. Ford of Zephyrhills — bought two Quick Pick Lotto tickets at a convenience store in Frostproof, Fla.
Ford claimed he bought the tickets, put them in his wallet and placed the wallet in a compartment in his truck. He said Shakespeare, a passenger in his truck, stole the tickets from his wallet.
Shakespeare said he asked Ford to buy the tickets and gave him $2 when he returned to the truck.
A year later, a jury found the winnings belonged to Shakespeare.
“My goal is to be able to wake up in the morning, get a fishing pole and go fish,” Shakespeare said the day he was awarded the decision. ” Or go hunting. Or golfing. I ain’t never golfed before.”
Two years later, Moore shot him twice in the chest and buried his body under a concrete slab.