(TAMPA, Fla.) — Doris “Dee Dee” Moore swindled money from Florida lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare, then fatally shot him and buried his body, prosecutor Jay Pruner said Wednesday during opening statements at Moore’s trial.
Moore, 40, is charged with first-degree murder.
Her defense attorney, Byron Hileman, told jurors in the Tampa, Fla., courtroom that Moore was innocent, and that the evidence against her was circumstantial. He said that Moore’s gun may have been used to shoot Shakespeare, but noted that ballistics tests were incomplete.
Moore broke down during Hileman’s opening statements.
Prosecutors called several witnesses to the stand, including Chad McConkey, a detective with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and Moore’s ex-husband, James, who testified that he bought the defendant a backhoe and used it to dig a hole in the backyard of a house she owned.
She asked him to dig the hole and gave him specific instructions, he said, adding that she told him she wanted it to dispose of construction debris from a remodeling project on the house.
He told the jury he dug the hole and left. His ex-wife called him a few hours later and had him fill up the hole. He said he didn’t pay attention to what was in the hole.
Prosecutors also called Janero Rodreiguez to the stand. He testified that he was hired by Moore to pour a slab of concrete over the same place her ex-husband had dug and filled a hole days earlier.
Shakespeare, of Lakeland, Fla., disappeared in April 2009.
Authorities say that Shakespeare was shot twice in the chest by a .38-caliber pistol sometime in April 2009. He wasn’t reported missing until November. His body was found under the slab in the same backyard in January 2010.
Public records show the property was owned by a man authorities have identified as Moore’s boyfriend.
Shakespeare, 47, made headlines in 2006 when he won $30 million in the Florida lottery, only to be sued the next year by a co-worker who alleged that Shakespeare had stolen the winning tickets from him. A jury sided with Shakespeare in October 2007, and he took home a $17 million lump-sum payout before taxes.
After he received his windfall, Shakespeare was besieged with requests for money. By 2009, he had used much of his fortune to pay off mortgages for family and friends.
Prosecutors say Moore befriended Abraham Shakespeare, promising to manage his money and make it last.
She allegedly swindled him out of what was left of his winnings before killing him that same year, then tried to cover up the disappearance by trying to make it look as though the man was still alive.
Polk County authorities claim Moore offered someone a $200,000 house in exchange for reporting a false sighting of Shakespeare. She also allegedly sent the victim’s son $5,000 in cash for his birthday, and used the victim’s cellphone to send text messages purportedly from him.
In February 2009, two months before Shakespeare was last confirmed to have been seen, Moore opened up a limited liability account with his money and gave herself signing authority, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. She spent it on a Corvette, a Hummer and lavish vacations.
Prosecutors are also expected to call Gregory Todd Smith, an informant, to the witness stand. According to investigators, Moore asked for Smith’s help to conceal the killing.
According to Smith and official documents, Moore asked Smith whether he knew anyone who would take a murder rap for a $50,000 payoff, ABC News affiliate WFTS-TV reported.
Smith said for months he lived a double life as he worked with Polk County investigators to find Shakespeare’s body, and it finally paid off when Moore allegedly took Smith and an unidentified man to where the lotto winner was buried, according to WFTS.
The trial is expected to last two weeks and prosecutors are not pursuing the death penalty. If convicted, Moore faces life in prison.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire