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Amid Powerball frenzy, murder trial recalls fate of a lotto winner

November 29, 2012|By Matt Pearce
  • Defendant Dorice "Dee Dee" Moore arrives in court at the Hillsborough County Courthouse for the opening statements in her case in Tampa, Fla.
Defendant Dorice "Dee Dee" Moore arrives in court at the Hillsborough… (Jay Conner, The Tampa Tribune…)

The odds that you'll regret winning the lottery are better than the odds of winning it.

The trail of woe and despair beaten by many a lotto winner is long and well-documented, but among the saddest has to be the story of Abraham Shakespeare, 42, whose $17-million Florida Lottery jackpot in November 2006 has ended with a murder trial this week for Dorice "Dee Dee" Moore -- the woman accused of swindling and killing him to get the last of his quickly fading millions.

As the nation whipped itself into a frenzy over Powerball's record jackpot drawing of half a billion dollars Wednesday, prosecutors spent the day unfolding their case against Moore, 40, in Tampa, Fla.

The prosecution said that Moore had approached Shakespeare -- who was illiterate -- in 2008 about writing a book on how people were taking advantage of him after winning the lottery. Prosecutors said he had loaned out millions to friends who hadn't paid him back, and according to the Associated Press, one detective testified that Moore told him Shakespeare had said he was tired of people asking him for money.

Assistant State Atty. Jay Pruner said Moore slowly wrapped her fingers around Shakespeare's financial affairs, then killed him and buried him beneath a concrete slab in her backyard. It was months before Shakespeare's family reported him missing; meanwhile, Pruner said, Moore had been lying to his friends about seeing him around town.

Defense attorney Byron Hileman countered: "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," according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Testimony also began Wednesday, with Moore's ex-husband James Moore testifying that she asked him to dig a hole in her backyard to bury some trash and that shortly after she called him to ask him to fill the hole.

James Moore said that when he came back, she was sweaty, "like she had been working," according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Prosecutors said Shakespeare's partially mummified body had been found with bullets near his spine and heart, according to the Associated Press.

On Thursday, Polk County Homicide Det. Chris Berlin testified that Moore had acquired Shakespeare's assets and started a company in his name to manage his money. (According to online state business filings, the now-defunct Abraham Shakespeare, LLC, was administered by a "D Moore.")

Within 60 days of Moore taking control of Shakespeare's money, according to Bay News 9, "...all that's left of Abraham Shakespeare is his decaying body in a grave under a concrete slab under a house that she bought on Highway 60 near Plant City."

The trial was a sad juxtaposition with the old Florida Lottery news release announcing Shakespeare's win in 2006.

"Shakespeare plans to use his winnings to purchase a new home for himself and his mother, new cars for himself and his girlfriend.... " the Florida Lottery said in its 2006 statement.

"I've been working on day-to-day jobs," Shakespeare told the Lottery. "Now I don't have to struggle anymore."

Ticket sales for Shakespeare's jackpot generated approximately $21.3 million for Florida's Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, the Florida Lottery said in its 2006 statement, adding with its tagline at the bottom, "When you play, we all win."

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