The lure of money is one of the oldest and most common motives for murder. For some people, the attraction of cash, ideals of being able to live a lavish lifestyle and buy anything they want comes before morals and sensibility where killing someone for financial gain is an open option. Dorice ‘Dee Dee’ Moore was one of those people. Not only was she willing to commit murder to gain cash, she was happy to manipulate and dupe a vulnerable man across a long period of time to do it.
43-year-old Abraham Shakespeare was a casual laborer from Lakeland in Florida who hit the jackpot in 2006 on the Florida lottery. After an unfortunate battle with a work colleague who claimed he had stolen the winning ticket from him, Shakespeare accepted a $17 million dollar lump sum and went about spending his fortune. After buying himself a house at just under $2 million dollars, Abraham Shakespeare was enjoying his new found wealth.
He was a generous man and gave large sums of money to friends and family, but he was also hounded by money seekers keen to tell him a sob story in order to obtain money from him. By 2008, Abraham Shakespeare’s fortune had significantly declined although he still had his property and other assets. A man inexperienced with that kind of money and with no guidance, he was in a very vulnerable position.
We have all dreamed of the lives we could have if lucky enough to win the lottery. The release from worry over paying the bills, the opportunity to buy the house we have always wanted and the chance to live a carefree, happy and joyful life. For some who have won, however, ‘lucky’ is not how they would describe themselves. The New York Daily News collated a number of tragic stories of lottery winners whose win became more like a curse.
Jeffrey Dampier who won $20 million in Illinois in 1996 was shot dead by his sister-in-law and her boyfriend in 2005. Urooj Khan won $1 million in 2012 in Chicago and was murdered the following day after being poisoned with cyanide. Close family members have been suspected of being behind his killing but no charges have ever been filed. Billie ‘Bob’ Harrell won $31 million in 1997 in Texas. Like Abraham Shakespeare, he was a generous man, regularly giving money to charities and his church. After separating from his wife due to the pressures of the win and the constant calls for money from others, Harrell shot himself in the chest in 1999, reportedly after telling his financial adviser that winning the lottery “is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
40-year-old Dorice ‘Dee Dee’ Moore entered Abraham Shakespeare’s life towards the end of 2008. She sympathized with his position, was understanding at the difficulties he faced with people constantly asking for him for handouts, or at least that is what she told him. Moore befriended Shakespeare, going to great efforts to gain his trust. She told him she was writing a book about him and his lottery win and the many who wanted to take advantage of his good fortune. Abraham Shakespeare had no reason to doubt her sincerity and he began to trust her to such an extent he made her his financial adviser, giving her full access to his accounts and his assets.
Whether Dee Dee Moore always intended to murder Abraham Shakespeare is unknown. One report in the Daily Mail suggests that Shakespeare discovered her deception and made threats against her in his anger at her betrayal. His murder, in effect, was in response to him uncovering the truth.
In November 2009, Shakespeare’s family reported him missing to police. After initial investigations, it became apparent that Shakespeare had not been seen by family members since April of that year, and the attention of police soon turned to Dee Dee Moore, his trusted adviser.
Police deployed an informant on their books who was a former friend of Abraham Shakespeare to get close to Dee Dee Moore in an attempt to uncover details of her possible involvement in his disappearance and assumed murder. Gregory Smith, reported The Huffington Post, did just that and, over the course of a number of months, he manipulated Moore as she had manipulated Shakespeare, gaining her trust and eventually details of her involvement in Shakespeare’s death and where his body was buried.
Based on the informant’s information, police began to dig up the backyard of a property in Plant City, Florida that had been purchased by Moore using Shakespeare’s money after he had disappeared in April 2009. There, under “five feet of concrete,” they found the body of Abraham Shakespeare. He had been shot twice in the chest before being buried and covered in concrete.
Dee Dee Moore was arrested in 2010 and charged with first-degree murder. Her murder trial began in November 2012 in Tampa, Florida. During the trial, it emerged that Moore had asked Smith to find a serving prisoner who would be willing to take the blame for murdering Mr. Shakespeare in exchange for a $50,000 payout.
ABC News reports she offered to pay false witnesses to claim they had seen Shakespeare alive and well, used his phone after his death to message his friends and family, and sent money to his son for his birthday, all to try and make it appear that he was still alive. In her defense, her attorney claimed Shakespeare had fallen in the with the wrong crowd, a group involved in drug dealing and it was this that had gotten him killed, although no witnesses were called to the stand to back up this theory.
Prosecutors presented CCTV footage of Moore shopping in Walmart in April 2009 where she purchased plastic sheeting, gloves and duct tape, all items which matched with those found close to where the body of Shakespeare was discovered.
Dee Dee Moore was found guilty of first-degree murder after the jury deliberated for just three hours. She was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. Judge Emmet Battles told her during sentencing:
“Abraham Shakespeare was your prey and victim. Money was the route of evil you brought to Abraham.”
Moore continues to maintain her innocence in the murder of Abraham Shakespeare. In 2016, three years after her conviction, she granted an interview with news reporter Michelle Meredity from Wesh 2 News where she stated she is innocent and was set up by the real killers who buried Shakespeare’s body in the backyard of that house to frame her for his murder.
Fox News 13 reported in April 2017 that she has requested a new trial, suggesting her attorney during her original trial did not allow her to testify in her own defense and she now wanted to take the stand. She also alleges that Greg Smith, the informant whose information provided a great deal of evidence against her, interfered with the jury in her first trial, negatively affecting the verdict against her.
Abraham Shakespeare was a man who by luck and chance won a great deal of money which changed his life. He should have been able to take that money forward and live a successful and happy life for many years. Instead, he was targeted and manipulated by a woman who could see nothing but money with no regard for his life and the devastation her actions would cause. Abraham Shakespeare’s life was cut short due to his newfound wealth and the woman responsible is now spending the rest of her life behind bars.