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Hillsborough deputies arrest woman with ties to murdered lottery winner

TAMPA — Dorice Donegan "Dee Dee" Moore said she managed Abraham Shakespeare's assets and helped him hide when the demands on his lottery winnings became too much to bear.

But Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said she did much more than that.

Moore hired a man with a backhoe to dig a hole for the 42-year-old Lakeland man's body, Gee said. She bought bags of lime to bury with him. She even had the .38 caliber pistol she claimed was the murder weapon.

On Tuesday, deputies charged Moore as an accessory after the fact in the first-degree murder of the former day laborer and booked her in the Hillsborough County Jail.

Gee said Moore could still be charged with murder if that is what the "very active" investigation warrants

Earlier in the week, she talked with Bay News 9 and other news media outside the Lakeland gated community where she lived in what had been Shakespeare's $1.1 million home.

"I am not scared of going to jail for murder because there is no jury that is going to convict me," she said. "They're saying I took a gun, put it up and killed another human being. I would never ever, ever do that."

But, according an arrest report, she did a host of other things that drew the suspicion of the Polk County Sheriff's Office and made her a person of interest.

Hillsborough detectives say Shakespeare died April 6 or April 7 in a single story ranch home at 5732 State Road 60 E in Plant City. Arrest reports cite several eyewitness accounts of what happened next:

Moore hired a man with a backhoe to dig a hole outside the neighboring law firm office at 5802 State Road 60 E and told him it was for construction debris. He later filled in the hole.

In December, she wrote Shakespeare's mother, Elizabeth Walker, posing as the victim and saying he was fine.

She used his cell phone to text his friends and family to assure them that he was okay.

After Christmas, Moore had someone pose as Shakespeare and call his mother.

Deputies say she also asked a man if he knew anyone awaiting sentencing who would take $50,000 in exchange for admitting to the murder.

She is accused of arranging for Shakespeare's body to be exhumed from its makeshift grave on Jan. 25 and giving a witness the .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver she said was the murder weapon.

Deputies say she pointed out the 30-foot by 30-foot concrete slab that covered Shakespeare's corpse and used a metal bar to mark the exact spot where it was hidden. She supplied a Ford F-150 pickup truck with a trailer for the grisly job, along with a galvanized metal trough, bleach, gloves and plastic sheeting.

The body was supposed to be moved 8 p.m. Jan. 25 but it remained until sheriff's deputies found it three days later.

In 2006, Shakespeare won a $31 million jackpot and took a $16.9 million lump sum payout, taking home $11 million after taxes. Deputies say Moore befriended him after his win.

She told authorities she bought his Lakeland home, set up Abraham Shakespeare LLC to take over his financial affairs, and later divorced her husband of 17 years.

His mansion ended up being purchased by her medical staffing company, American Medical Professionals, for a little over half of its $1.1 million price tag.

Before his disappearance, Shakespeare's newfound fortune had been dwindling. The felon and former Lake Wales day laborer doled out high-dollar loans and extravagant gifts to friends, family members and even people he barely knew.

Moore ended up owning all of Shakespeare's various real estate holdings and other assets, including more than $600,000 in debts owed to him.

Gee said the murder investigation will continue and would not comment on whether more arrests were forthcoming. Deputies went back out to house he was buried behind to search it Tuesday night.

Gee said the gun and other evidence have been turned over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which has expedited the processing for this case.

Moore sat in central booking at the Orient Road Jail looking nonplussed about her arrest — even smiling on occasion — with none of the tears she shed during an interview earlier in the day in which she expressed sadness for his family's suffering. Moore told Bay News 9 that she has been in contact with them and hoped to attend his funeral.

"The money was like a curse to him, and now it has become a curse to me," she told reporters.

A chronology of deceit

Here, based on the sheriff's probable cause affidavit and newspaper accounts, is a timeline of the rise to riches and rapid destruction of Abraham Lee Shakespeare.

2006: Abraham Shakespeare takes an $11 million lump sum payment for a lottery jackpot.

Nov. 2008: Dorice Donegan Moore arranges to meet him, saying she wants to write a book.

April 6 to April 7, 2009: Shakespeare is killed and buried in Plant City.

Nov. 2009: His family reports him missing.

Dec. 2009: Moore says she helped Shakespeare disappear and writes to his mom posing as him, saying he's all right.

Dec. 27: Moore has someone call Shakespeare's mother pretending to be him.

Between Dec. 28 and Jan. 21, 2010: Moore seeks someone awaiting sentencing who is willing to admit to the murder in exchange for $50,000.

Jan. 25: Moore gives someone a pistol described as the murder weapon. She shows him where the body is buried and arranges for it to be moved.

Jan. 28: Deputies find the body under a concrete slab.

Feb. 1: Moore tells reporters she didn't pull the trigger but covered up the death.

Feb. 2: Moore is arrested.

Hillsborough deputies arrest woman with ties to murdered lottery winner 02/02/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 5:59pm]
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