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  1. Opinion

No surprise in DeeDee Moore's conviction in lottery murder

Published Dec. 13, 2012

This probably falls under the attorney/client privilege, but you have to believe it didn't take long after the start of DeeDee Moore's first-degree murder trial that her lawyer, Byron Hileman, had to think to himself: "I'd have an easier time getting Jack Ruby acquitted."

It was likely not a good sign things were going to turn out well for Moore when her entire defense strategy seemed to be impersonating Glenn Close's deranged, hysterical, Alex Forrest from Fatal Attraction. You have to wonder if the jurors went home every night expecting to find a dead rabbit boiling on the stove top.

By now we know the Madame Defarge of Polk County, was on trial for the 2009 murder of Abraham Shakespeare, a $17 million lottery winner, who became a dead man scratch-off ticket the minute he crossed paths with Moore.

Before you could say King Lear, who had his own problems with women, Shakespeare had literally met his demise at the hands of a real-life cunning, calculating and homicidal Lady Macbeth.

But perhaps the real mystery surrounding the Shakespeare case is: Why did this thing ever go to trial in the first place?

With all due respect to Assistant Hillsborough State Attorney Jay Pruner, who prosecuted Moore and is a very fine lawyer, let's face it, an Irish setter could have tried this case and won a conviction.

It's not as if Hileman and his client weren't abundantly aware of the Alps-like mountains of evidence arrayed against Moore — much of it self-incriminating.

With hours of secretly recorded conversations between Moore and an informant in which she readily admits to where Shakespeare's body is buried and then asks for help in digging it up to hide it someplace else, do you think it is possible a juror just might begin to think DeeDee had something to do with all the foul play?

Sheesh, Guy Fawkes had a greater shot at walking.

When it came time to mount a defense of Moore, Hileman might have been better off standing up before the jury and pled candor with: "Folks, I got nothing."

Instead, the mouthpiece offered the rather tortured argument that because DeeDee already had stolen all of Shakespeare's assets what was the point of killing him? Well, you have to give him a nod for at least trying.

Otherwise, Hileman never entered a single piece of evidence, or called a witness. And Moore herself, having at least the presence of an addled mind to realize testifying on her own behalf would have resulted in looking even more guilty (if that were possible) also declined to take the stand.

So why go through this charade of a trial when Moore had less of a chance of going free than Secretariat losing to Old Dobbin?

Perhaps Moore simply viewed the trial as a chance to get out of her jail cell for a few hours a day. Maybe she wanted one last opportunity to dress up in shabby civilian clothes before getting permanently fitted with a prison jumpsuit. Or it could be she heard the courthouse cheeseburgers are to die for.

Whatever the case, after a two-week trial that was filled with the defendant engaging in more drama queen breakdowns than Scarlett O'Hara, the jury quickly returned a verdict of guilty, which is certainly one way to get the Iago of Plant City to at last blessedly shut up.

Life sentences have a way of doing that.

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