TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jury selection was underway on Tuesday in the trial of a Florida woman charged with swindling a lottery winner out of his money and then killing him.
Dorice “Dee Moore Dee” is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Abraham Shakespeare, a laborer who won a $30 million Florida Lottery jackpot in 2006.
Prosecutors, defense attorneys and Judge Emmett Lamar Battles are having a difficult time finding potential jurors who hadn’t heard of the case: 41 people from a pool of 100 said they had read or heard some news about Shakespeare’s death.
The trial is unfolding the same week as a record $425 million Powerball jackpot drawing is held.
The lurid story of a working-class lottery winner who lost his millions and ended up dead beneath concrete slab is akin to a TV crime. Authorities say Moore befriended the 43-year-old Shakespeare, conned him out of money and then killed him. His body was found behind a home detectives say was owned by Moore’s ex-boyfriend in eastern Hillsborough County.
Shakespeare, who had been in and out of jail on charges ranging from non-payment of child support to domestic violence, was making $8 an hour as an assistant truck driver when he bought the $2 Florida Lottery ticket in a rural central Florida town in November 2006.
Shakespeare won $30 million and took the lump sum of $17 million after taxes, which amounted to $1.5 million a year for two decades.
He told reporters when he won that money wouldn’t change him, although some things in his life clearly had to change: until that point in his life, Shakespeare never had a bank account.
Shakespeare immediately began handing out money to friends and family. He bought a $100,000 BMW. An ex-girlfriend sued him for child support, and the state of Florida claimed $6,000 in back support payments for another baby.
At the end of 2008, a mutual friend introduced Shakespeare to Moore, who claimed that she was writing a book about lottery winners.
Moore had her own past issues. She had been sentenced to a year of probation after she was charged with falsely reporting that she was carjacked and raped in 2001. Officials said she concocted the insurance fraud scheme to collect money for the “stolen” SUV.
Shakespeare trusted Moore, detectives said, and she began managing what money he had left. Moore’s company bought properties he owned, including Shakespeare’s home for $655,000 in January 2009. She ended up obtaining most of his assets, about $3.5 million, records show.
But in April of that year, Shakespeare vanished. Friends and family hoped he was in the Caribbean. In January 2009, detectives found his body under a 30×30 concrete slab. He had been shot to death.
Detectives said Moore identified the murder weapon — a .38 revolver — as hers. She also changed her story to detectives several times, claiming at one point that two drug dealers killed Shakespeare.
Shakespeare’s family also said that while he was missing, Moore texted them from his cell phone and wrote letters, pretending to be Shakespeare.
She also showed detectives a video of Shakespeare saying that he was tired of being a lottery winner.
Officials say Moore also asked an acquaintance to help conceal Shakespeare’s death, but that man was a police informant.
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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.