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Lottery Winner Murder Trial Begins in Tampa

The trial of Dorice DeeDee Moore, accused of killing a Lakeland lottery winner in 2009, began this week in a Hillsborough Circuit courtroom. Moore is accused of fatally shooting Abraham Shakespeare, who won a $17 million lottery jackpot in 2006. His mummified body was found months later under a concrete slab on property Moore owned in Plant City.

Attorneys gave their opening statements in the case on Wednesday morning. Moore is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly shooting Shakespeare twice in the chest.

Prosecutors assert that Shakespeare was not sophisticated in business or finance and was essentially illiterate. They claim Moore approached Shakespeare in 2007, telling him that she was interested in writing a book about his life. They say Moore took control of Shakespeare's millions in assets within a few months, portraying herself as a savvy businesswoman.

The defense will argue that Moore was framed, pointing out that there are no eyewitnesses to the killing and no physical evidence (including DNA) that ties her to the murder.

Shakespeare went missing in April 2009, although his family did not report him missing until November of that year. His body was discovered in January 2010.

Police now say that Moore went to extreme lengths to make it seem that Shakespeare was still alive. She even had someone call Shakespeare's mother, pretending to be Shakespeare. Shakespeare's mother didn't think it sounded like her son and police traced the phone number back to Gregory Todd Smith. They found Smith the next day, meeting with Moore.

Smith told police that Moore had paid him to make the call as well as a call to a Polk detective to claim he had recently spotted the missing man alive in Miami.

Records indicate that Shakespeare was shot twice with a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver that deputies said Moore turned over to Gregory Todd Smith, who was working with authorities. Moore reportedly asked Smith if he knew anyone who would be willing to confess to killing Shakespeare. Smith said he knew someone already facing a lengthy prison term who would be willing to do it for $50,000.

But the man was an undercover Lake Wales police officer who met with Moore and Smith on Jan. 21. The officer said he would need more details about the killing to make his confession convincing. During the meeting, police said, Moore agreed to tell him where Shakespeare's body was buried and that she had the gun that killed him.

After she showed him where the body was buried, police obtained a search warrant and discovered Shakespeare's body.

The 22-page arrest affidavit said Moore kept switching the blame for Shakespeare's slaying from a drug dealer named Ronald; to herself in self-defense; Shakespeare's cousin; her own 14-year-old son, R.J.; and finally Plant City attorney David Stitzel, who had arranged many of the transactions transferring Shakespeare's assets to Moore.

Witnesses, including the various investigating officers, are expected to testify to the fact previously laid out in the arrest affidavit as the trial continues.

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