TAMPA — Dorice "DeeDee" Moore wore a surgical cap, a mask and latex gloves. For hours, she typed on a new laptop in a room at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Lakeland rented for one night, according to a sheriff's informer, whom she made wear a mask and gloves, too.
It was a pretend letter. Moore hoped the mother of Abraham Shakespeare would believe it was from her missing son, the informer said. It bore no salutation, no "Dear Mom," and no signature at the end, no "Your Loving Son."
"I like being missing," it said.
The letter was read Monday to the jury in Moore's first-degree murder trial. Prosecutors believe that Shakespeare was already dead when the letter was written in January 2010, that Shakespeare lay buried in Plant City with two bullet holes in his chest. Moore had acquired Shakespeare's million-dollar mansion in Lakeland and the remnants of the $17 million jackpot he'd won in 2006, they say.
The letter to Elizabeth Walker, Shakespeare's mother, was read to the jury by an old friend of Shakespeare's named Greg Smith, who testified that he pretended to help Moore create a myth that Shakespeare was still alive. All the time he wore a recorder at the behest of Polk County detectives.
The long, rambling note praised Moore for being honest, so honest she wouldn't help Shakespeare evade child-support payments. "Don't worry about DeeDee," it said. If she got arrested "the charges won't stick." It said Shakespeare had too many people after him for delinquent payments and domestic violence to show his face in Lakeland.
"I like my life too much to sit in jail," the letter said.
On the recording, Moore could be heard explaining that she bought a new laptop so the letter couldn't be traced to her hard-drive. Smith offered to bury it in the woods afterward.
Smith also repeatedly warned Moore to edit herself out of the letter. "You're going too far," he told her in the recording. "You mention yourself more than once. You got too much mention of you."
Jurors endured interminable lulls in the recording, while Moore typed. Several appeared to struggle to stay awake.
Smith fretted that his wife, who was going through the police academy, wouldn't believe why he was out so late.
After finishing, Smith testified that Moore drove him to Shakespeare's mother's house that night. He said he quickly slipped the letter into her mailbox while Moore circled the block.
Smith and Moore got together a couple of days later at a Denny's restaurant in Plant City. The letter had not seemed to throw detectives off Moore's trail.
If she got arrested, she asked Smith, did he think her bail would be more than O.J. Simpson's?
Smith said not to worry. His uncle was a bondsman.
John Barry can be reached at (813) 226-3383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.