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Woman accused in Lotto winner's slaying has past of deceit, some say

PLANT CITY — In April, authorities say, Dorice "DeeDee" Moore bought bags of lime and hired a man to dig a hole in Plant City for the body of 42-year-old Lotto winner Abraham Shakespeare.

On New Year's Eve, she took the dead man's mother to a candlelight service at a church in the same town.

This was the same woman, Elizabeth Walker said Thursday, who gave her a Bible and treated her to restaurant meals and trips to Busch Gardens and Disney — all the while leading Walker to believe that her son was alive somewhere.

"I can't understand how someone could do that knowing what has happened," Walker, 68, told reporters at a news conference in Lakeland. "Knowing that my son is dead and I'll never see him again."

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office jailed 37-year-old Moore this week on a charge of accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. Her arrest followed the Jan. 28 discovery of Shakespeare's body under a 30-foot by 30-foot concrete slab behind a home owned by Moore's boyfriend.

Authorities accuse Moore of at least helping to cover up Shakespeare's April slaying, and they continue to investigate her role in his drained fortune and disappearance.

As Walker prepares for her son's funeral Saturday, she is left feeling betrayed by a woman she considered her friend.

She isn't alone. Others who have crossed paths with Moore, a divorced mother and Plant City native, say she also buttered them up with her bubbly personality before taking off with their money. They, too, accuse her of bald-faced deceit, concocted stories and false remorse.

Several people, including Walker's minister, have called her a con artist.

"She was the devil in disguise," said the Rev. H.B. Holmes, pastor of Rhema Family Fellowship.

Some went to civil court and won judgments against her. Judges ordered her to pay a landlord about $3,600 in back rent for office space where she sold cell phones and nearly $20,700 to a radio station she owed for advertising.

Neither the landlord nor the radio station collected a dime. Moore and her now ex-husband, James Moore, filed for bankruptcy in 2002, and the judgments were set aside, records show.

In the Shakespeare case, Moore claimed for months that she helped fulfill the lottery winner's wish to skip town. She said the former day laborer was tired of people pestering him for a piece of the $11 million he collected upon hitting the jackpot in 2006.

She convinced Shakespeare's mother that he was either living in Orlando or had gone to California to get treated for an illness. Around the holidays, Moore even had a man call Walker pretending to be her son.

"I just told him he didn't sound like my son," Walker said. "I didn't recognize him. He just said he was Abraham."

After investigators unearthed Shakespeare's body, Moore tearfully told reporters that she helped cover up the killing after he was robbed by someone else. She indicated that she had reason to fear coming forward sooner.

Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner said Moore has since given multiple explanations for Shakespeare's death and pinned blame on various people — including her 15-year-old son.

Two couples say it is an act they've seen before.

"She cries these alligator tears," said Jeff Potwin of Zephyrhills. "She is such a good actress."

Potwin and his wife, Kimberly, say Moore stole $60,000 from them that was supposed to go to starting their own business. Kimberly Potwin previously worked for Moore's medical staffing agency called American Medical Professionals.

Moore has offered varying stories about the money, the Potwins said. Records show she admitted during a controlled phone call to stealing the money and using it to help out some of her employees.

But after a lengthy investigation, the Zephyrhills Police Department closed the case in July because prosecutors said there wasn't enough evidence to make a case.

Patricia and Reggie Mobley rented their Dover home to Moore and her husband for about a year. When the couple stopped paying rent, DeeDee Moore began telling her landlords that people were after her, the Mobleys said.

In June 2001, Moore reported finding a "warning sign" ablaze by her front porch. No one else witnessed the fire, but Moore told a deputy that she believed it was set by an employee she had just fired.

Moore's claim about being scared in the Shakespeare case "is the same stuff she pulled when she was living in our house," Patricia Mobley said. " 'Somebody's after me, somebody's threatening me.' They could never prove anybody had done anything to her."

The Mobleys got their tenants evicted around the same time DeeDee Moore picked up her only other adult arrest. In August 2001, authorities accused her of concocting a story about getting raped at gunpoint by three Hispanic men who stole her Lincoln Navigator.

In truth, Moore had driven the new $36,000 vehicle on which she owed $46,000 to a garage, then had an accomplice tie her up and throw her in a ditch.

She pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of falsely reporting a crime and got a year of probation.

"DeeDee would steal money from her own parents if they had money," Patricia Mobley said.

What do Moore's parents think? Linda and Patrick Donegan, married 46 years, aren't sure what to make of all the recent revelations about their daughter.

They know Moore as the girl who participated in Brownies and ROTC and her church youth group, then worked hard as an adult running her own businesses. They describe her as "a go-getter."

They never met Shakespeare, but they have visited the $1.1 million home their daughter bought from him for $655,000 in January 2009. The retired certified nursing assistant and air conditioning serviceman think maybe Moore got mixed up with the wrong people when she tried to collect Shakespeare's debts.

Or, her mother wonders, perhaps she suffered an unknown head injury when her Hummer was struck in a head-on collision in 2005.

They plan to visit her in jail this weekend. But they both expressed deep sympathy for Shakespeare's family.

"This is not the daughter I raised," Moore's father said in his front yard this week. "She's different in many ways."

Colleen Jenkins can be reached at cjenkins@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3337.

Woman accused in Lotto winner's slaying has past of deceit, some say 02/04/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 4, 2010 11:20pm]

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