A confidential informant working for detectives testified today that he and Dorice Donegan "Dee Dee" Moore met in a Polk County hotel and forged a letter from then-missing lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare to his mother saying he was OK.
Moore, 40, is on trial, accused of first-degree murder in the 2009 death of Shakespeare, who won a $30 million Florida Lotto jackpot in 2006.
Today, the first day of the second week of the trial, testimony bogged down as the jury heard taped conversations between the informant and Moore, including when they drafted the letter in the hotel room. At times, the tape went for five and 10 minutes with no talk or only muffled conversation.
Two-thirds of the way through, the jury could hear Moore read the letter she had just typed as the informant gave suggestions on how to make it more believable. The end of the tape took the jury into the informant's car as the two delivered the letter to the mailbox of Shakespeare's mother's home.
The confidential informant, Greg Smith, testified that he was working with Polk County missing person detectives who considered Moore a suspect. Detectives had Smith record several conversations with Moore, some of which were played to the 12-member jury.
The conversations dealt mainly with concocting rumors around town that Shakespeare, 43, was alive and in hiding because he believed police were looking for him in an assault case.
Smith said Moore instructed him to rent a hotel room at the Comfort Inn & Suites on U.S. 98 in Lakeland on Jan. 6, 2010. Smith said he showed up and found Moore in the room, wearing a surgical-type cap and a mask.
She typed the two-page letter on a computer she had purchased that day.
Smith read the letter in court.
"I'm grown and I don't have to come back," the letter's opening line said, adding that Shakespeare feared being jailed on the assault charge.
"I like being missing," the letter went on, "just not being on the news. I've been through a lot, Mom."
Smith said Moore wrote: "I trust Dee but not with my address. She would tell the cops. She would not lie for me … no matter how much I give her."
The letter also instructed Shakespeare's mother to tell Moore's son that "I will buy him a car and send money through the mail for what his mom has done for me."
Near the end, the letter says: "I don't want the cops to see this letter at all. I only wrote you just in case you're really worried."
A few weeks after the letter was delivered, Shakespeare's body was found buried nearly 10 feet under a slab of concrete at Moore's home in Plant City.