Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jurors quickly find DeeDee Moore guilty of lottery winner's murder

TAMPA — Moments after Dorice "DeeDee" Moore's conviction Monday night for fatally shooting the Florida Lottery's unluckiest winner, a judge called her "cold, calculating and cruel . . . probably the most manipulative person this court has seen."

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Emmett Battles then sentenced Moore, 40, to life in prison for first-degree murder. The state never sought the death penalty. For the first time in two weeks, the volatile defendant showed little reaction.

The verdict concluded the made-for-tabloids tale of Abraham Shakespeare, 43, an illiterate, occasional sanitation worker from Lakeland who won a $17 million jackpot in 2006, squandered almost all of it by 2008, and then met Moore, who offered to write his life story. Instead, she grabbed his home and the remnants of his fortune in 2009.

She told a detective the $1.3 million she took was "chump change."

When Shakespeare died on April 6, 2009, he had just $14,000 left. The prosecution said Shakespeare, who quit the eighth-grade to join his father in the fields, "couldn't tell $6,000 from $60,000." He could barely call on a cellphone.

Moore, said Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner, "led him around like a puppy dog with a treat."

The case attracted the kind of national attention Shakespeare could never dream of while he lived. In Session TV covered the entire trial and will broadcast it next year. Thousands watched a live stream version online.

Jurors had heard Moore name five different killers of Shakespeare on secret audio recordings and in statements to detectives —- two mysterious drug dealers she called "Ronald" and "Fearless," an undercover cop who posed as her "fall guy," a friend who reported Shakespeare missing, and her own 14-year-old son, "R.J".

Jurors took three hours Monday evening to decide that Moore herself pumped two bullets into Shakespeare's chest, then moved into his million-dollar mansion after burying him.

One juror, John Cameron, said Monday night that the state's recordings of Moore sold him on a guilty verdict, especially one in which she told an informer where the body was buried in her Plant City back yard, even drawing a diagram on how to dig it up.

"After that point, it was really easy," said Cameron, a 62-year-old retiree from Tampa. "Those tapes were really damaging to her."

He said there was no dissent in the jury room, though there was debate. They listened to the recordings one more time before releasing their verdict.

All along, her defense attorneys said the state had not shown a motive. She had already acquired his assets before he died.

"It wasn't the taking of the money that was the motive," Pruner said in closing arguments. "It was the keeping. She knew if Abraham was left alive there would be a fight. Greed flowed through her veins."

Moore declined to testify in her defense Monday and cried once during closing arguments, prompting one more warning from Judge Battles, who had chastised her for her theatrics for two weeks.

The state had its own dramatics Monday. Pruner hefted a cardboard box full of gallons of bleach that Moore had purchased, and slammed it on the prosecution table to show that Moore was strong enough to drag Shakespeare's body from her house.

Moore's attorney Byron Hileman described her as "a desperate, panicking, emotionally unstable woman" who was afraid that drug dealers would harm her and her son if she identified the real killers.

Her "core story," he said, was that Shakespeare was trying to recoup his fortune by investing in drugs and was killed for it.

Pruner said her story came with too many embellishments, including a fake letter in Shakespeare's name given to his mother, and her offer of $50,000 to an undercover officer to falsely confess to murder.

"She's the kind of person," Pruner said, "who thinks she's smarter than detectives."

Times staff writer Jodie Tillman contributed to this report. John Barry can be reached at jbarry@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3383.

Jurors quickly find DeeDee Moore guilty of lottery winner's murder 12/10/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 12:08am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Mulberry teens, 15 and 18, killed when cars collide at Plant City intersection

    Accidents

    MULBERRY — The local high school has an enrollment of 1,000 but to some it feels like a tight-knit family. Many of Mulberry High School's students have spent all of their school days within the city limits, said principal Michael Young.

    Pepe Salgado, 18, was killed Friday along with his sister Frinzi Salgado-Diaz, 15, in a car crash in Plant City. They were passengers in a car driven by their cousin Edilberto Nava-Marcos, 18, who was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center and was listed in critical condition. All three lived in Mulberry and attended Mulberry High School. [Polk County School District]
  2. Assisted living facility owner accused of sexually assaulting employee in Pinellas

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — An assisted living facility owner was arrested Thursday on charges that he sexually assaulted an employee, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

  3. Find serenity at Grand Cayman Island's Cemetery Beach

    Travel

    GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND

    Hey, cruisers, if you've been to Hell and back, snuggled with the stingrays and taken photos with the turtles at the Cayman Turtle Centre, you might be looking for something different on your next trip. (Guilty!)

    Good snorkeling can be found off shore at Cemetery Beach in Grand Cayman.
  4. Editorial: Honoring a solemn sacrifice

    Editorials

    For a nation still slogging away in Afghanistan, Iraq and other war zones across the globe, this Memorial Day holiday marks the latest commemoration of sacrifice abroad, of uncertainty over America's role in securing the globe and of the country's great debt to its military families. The peace of yesterday is almost …

  5. Four Brandon middle school students face child porn charges related to sex video

    Crime

    BRANDON — Four Burns Middle School students, ages 12 to 14, have been arrested on child pornography charges after one secretly recorded a girl in a sex act and the others posted it online, authorities said Friday.