Tampa, Fla. – His entire life, about the only thing Abraham Shakespeare had going for him was an unforgettable name. To police, he was a druggie and a thief, in and out of trouble with the law. He never had a "career," only odd jobs, sometimes — if he was lucky — paying $8 an hour.
Then one day the Plant City, Fla., man bought a quick-pick Florida lottery ticket. And he won, taking the $17 million cash payout.
Over the next couple of years, though, his rags-to-riches story turned into a nightmare: family members, friends and acquaintances he barely knew all came forward begging for his winnings. Within two years, he was down to just $3.5 million. And then he met Dee Dee Moore.
Hillsborough County detectives and prosecutors say Moore bamboozled Shakespeare under the pretense of writing a book about his life story. Instead, she's accused of finagling Shakespeare to sign over his remaining assets to her and then killing him.
She's on trial now for first-degree murder. Opening statements started this morning in a downtown Tampa courthouse. The once-blond Moore is now brunette and much slimmer, thanks to her jailhouse diet of the past 18 months.
Never one to shy away from the television cameras, Moore earned herself some unwanted attention yesterday in the courtroom. She teared up at the defense table as the judge harshly admonished her for making facial gestures with the prospective jurors in an attempt to win them over her murder trial. She faces life in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors say they have an abundance of evidence against Moore: financial records detailing how Shakespeare signed over $3.5 million to her; the gun used to kill Shakespeare allegedly belonged to Moore; Moore was living in his million-dollar mansion when he disappeared and was killed; and the backyard where Shakespeare’s remains were buried underneath a concrete slab was behind a house bought by Moore with Shakespeare’s money.
And perhaps critically, Walmart surveillance video showing Moore buying duct tape, trash bags and sheeting, all, according to detectives, to be used in the disposal of Shakespeare’s remains.
Shakespeare’s mother also will testify that while her son was missing, Moore handed her a cellphone that had just rung; on the phone was a man, claiming to be Abraham. But police say Shakespeare was already dead.
Moore’s murder trial is expected to last two weeks.
Phil Keating joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in March 2004 and currently serves as FNC's Miami-based correspondent.