Dorice “DeeDee” Moore was convicted earlier this week for murdering Abraham Shakespeare in 2009. After the jury returned its verdict, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Emmett Battles sentenced Moore to life in prison for first-degree murder. The state was not seeking the death penalty.
Shakespeare was an illiterate, occasional sanitation worker from Lakeland who won a $17 million lottery jackpot in 2006. He reportedly squandered almost all of his winnings within two years. In 2008, he met Moore, who offered to write his life story. She has been accused, instead, of stealing his home and $1.3 million and then killing Shakespeare.
The trial was covered by In Session TV, which will broadcast it next year. It was live-streamed over the internet as well.
Jurors heard Moore identify five different killers in secret audio recordings and statements to detectives. At various points during the investigation, Moore apparently accused two drug dealers she called “Ronald” and “Fearless,” an undercover cop who posed as her “fall guy,” a friend who reported Shakespeare missing, and her own 14-year-old son, RJ, of killing Shakespeare.
Jurors took three hours to reach a guilty verdict. At least one juror pointed to the state’s recordings of Moore in which she told an informant where Shakespeare’s body was buried (in Moore’s Plant City backyard) and drew him a diagram of where to dig it up.
Though the state is not required by law to prove a motive, Moore’s defense attorneys focused much of their argument on the lack of apparent motive. Moore, they argued, already had Shakespeare’s money and didn’t need to kill him. Moore did not testify in her defense. Her attorneys argued that she was unstable and feared for the safety of herself and her son. They said that Shakespeare was trying to recoup his fortune by investing in drugs and was killed by drug dealers for it.
Once she was found guilty of first-degree murder, the court had no other sentencing option other than life in prison.