Florida Lottery Winner's Friend Charged as Accessory to His Murder

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A woman who befriended a Florida lottery winner who later went missing was charged Tuesday in connection with his slaying, five days after his body was found buried in her backyard.

Dorice "DeeDee" Moore, 37, was charged as an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder in the slaying of Abraham Shakespeare, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said. Moore has denied hurting Shakespeare, 43. No one else has been charged.

"I won't say we have identified all of the players involved," said Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee. "We're going to find out everyone that was involved. We're going to seek justice."

Moore's arrest is another twist in the monthslong, bizarre case.

Detectives said Shakespeare was killed on April 6 or 7, 2009, at a home in a rural town east of Tampa. He was buried, officials said, at the home next door, which according to property records, was purchased by Moore and listed in the name of her boyfriend.

Investigators said in an affidavit released Tuesday that Moore asked an unnamed witness if he knew anyone who was awaiting sentencing to prison and would be willing to take the rap for killing Shakespeare in exchange for $50,000.

Around the same time a few weeks ago, she told an unnamed witness — it's not clear if it was the same witness — to dig up the body and move it to another location, according to the affidavit. Authorities said she showed the person where the body was buried on Jan. 25 and provided a pickup truck to transport it, along with bleach and plastic sheeting. Police began digging up her backyard the next day.

Shakespeare was last seen in April, and officials in Polk County — where he lived and was reported missing — have long thought he was slain. Investigators had announced earlier Tuesday that an autopsy showed the Lakeland resident died of "homicidal violence" but would not give specifics.

In January, Polk officials named Moore a "person of interest" in Shakespeare's disappearance. She befriended him after he claimed the $30 million winning ticket in 2006 and took a $17 million lump sum payment.

Moore said she wanted to write a book about Shakespeare, but officials said she actually scammed him out of money. Property records show she bought a $1 million home from Shakespeare for $655,000 and she acknowledged moving $2 million of his money into her bank account.

In an interview Monday with The Tampa Tribune, Moore said she anticipated being arrested. Shakespeare's body was found Thursday buried 5 feet deep under a 30-by-30 foot concrete slab behind the home Moore owns with her boyfriend. Moore told the paper that she ordered it poured for use as a boat and camper skirt.

However, Moore said she never hurt Shakespeare.

"I would never take another human's life. No amount of money in the world is worth that," she said.

Moore's attorney, John Liguori, said he's not surprised his client was arrested, considering recent developments in the investigation. But Liguori said the killer could still be on the loose.

"DeeDee may be a valuable witness against anyone responsible for the actual murder of Abraham Shakespeare," Liguori said.

It's too early to speculate about the possibility of a plea bargain, Liguori said. He acknowledged that more serious charges could be filed later against his client.

Family members say Shakespeare, a truck driver's assistant, was barely literate, and people constantly hounded him for a piece of his winnings.

Last week, Shakespeare's brother told The Associated Press that Shakespeare often wished he had never bought the winning ticket.

"'I'd have been better off broke.' He said that to me all the time," Robert Brown said.

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