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Lawyers battle in opening statements in Abraham Shakespeare's 2009 death

Defendant Dorice “DeeDee” Moore, left, pauses to speak to her attorney, Byron Hileman, as she is led out of the courtroom after opening statements in her murder trial on Wednesday. Moore is accused of killing a Florida Lottery winner.

Pool photo

Defendant Dorice “DeeDee” Moore, left, pauses to speak to her attorney, Byron Hileman, as she is led out of the courtroom after opening statements in her murder trial on Wednesday. Moore is accused of killing a Florida Lottery winner.

TAMPA — Dorice "DeeDee" Moore was a calculating businesswoman who slowly siphoned the last of lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare's millions before fatally shooting him in 2009, prosecutors say.

But the evidence is circumstantial, the defense countered in opening statements Wednesday morning.

No one saw Moore shoot Shakespeare, said defense attorney Byron Hileman.

"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.

There was also no DNA, the defense attorney said, that connects her to Shakespeare's death.

Moore is accused of killing lottery winner Shakespeare, who won a $17 million jackpot in 2006. He was missing for months before authorities found his body in January 2010 under a concrete slab on property Moore owned in east Hillsborough.

She faces one count of first-degree murder.

The pair met in late 2008, and within weeks, Moore took control of Shakespeare's assets, Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner said in opening statements. She portrayed herself as a savvy businesswoman and author who wanted to write a book about Shakespeare.

"A book about how people were taking advantage of him," Pruner said.

Pruner urged the jury, eight men and four women, to look closely at the evidence.

"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 prosecutor said.

He explained how Moore tried to throw investigators off the case, portraying the missing Shakespeare as alive and well.

Moore even wrote a letter, supposedly from the illiterate Shakespeare, Pruner said. In it, "Shakespeare" said he was fine but could not come home.

Later Wednesday afternoon, a Polk County detective 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," Detective Chad McConchie testified.

Moore's ex-husband, James Moore, also took the stand.

He works in excavation and spoke about bringing a backhoe that DeeDee Moore had purchased back to the house on State Road 60 where Shakespeare eventually was found.

One day in April 2009, Moore contacted her ex-husband.

"She called me one afternoon, told me she had some debris and stuff from the house that she was remodeling," James Moore, 39, testified.

She said she wanted to bury it. He used the backhoe.

James Moore said he went home and about two to three hours later, DeeDee Moore called him and asked him to come back and fill the hole.

He returned and found no one else except DeeDee Moore, who was sweaty, "like she had been working," he testified.

James Moore pushed the dirt back in the hole. It was dark and he said he did not notice what was inside.

During two days of jury selection, Moore was scolded for what the judge perceived as overly friendly body language — including smiles and nods — directed at a prospective juror.

Dressed in a collared, bright yellow shirt, she was more restrained Wednesday.

The prosecution expects to continue its case today.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3433.

Lawyers battle in opening statements in Abraham Shakespeare's 2009 death 11/28/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 11:59pm]
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