The woman charged in the killing of Florida Lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare took "calculated, deliberate steps" to siphon the last of his millions, then hid his body — and the truth — from investigators, prosecutors told a jury Wednesday.
Defense attorneys countered that there is only circumstantial evidence linking Dorice Donegan "Dee Dee" Moore to the slaying and that she was framed for the crime by a man who owed Shakespeare money.
The opening remarks by attorneys, along with seven witnesses called to the stand Wednesday by prosecutors, marked the first day of Moore's trial, which is expected to run into next week.
Moore, 40, is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Shakespeare, who won a $30 million jackpot in 2006.
Shakespeare, 43, was shot twice in the chest in April 2009 and buried under a concrete slab on Turkey Creek property owned by Moore and her boyfriend, investigators said.
Shakespeare's relatives thought he was missing for 10 months before his body was found by investigators in January 2010.
Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner painted Moore as a woman who preyed on Shakespeare's kindness. She took advantage of his illiteracy and ignorance in financial matters to claim his remaining $1.5 million for herself, Pruner said.
Shakespeare was fearful he would lose the last of his money in a child support lawsuit, Pruner said.
Moore, he said, "fanned the flames of that fear" and convinced Shakespeare to transfer money into joint accounts or accounts owned solely by Moore.
Moore's attorney, Byron Hileman, said his client just wanted to help Shakespeare through a difficult time. It was Shakespeare's idea to set up joint accounts and a limited liability company that would help him collect street debts from friends he had loaned money to, Hileman said.
And it was Shakespeare who expressed "an interest to get away from everything" from the woman who is the mother of his child and from people who owed him money, Hileman said.
Pruner said it was Moore's greed that led to Shakespeare's death.
"This defendant killed Abraham Shakespeare," Pruner said, "and took calculated steps to avoid detection, apprehension and the truth. She had the motive to do so. She killed him with her own gun. She buried him on her property."
Hileman said there is no physical evidence at the crime scene that points to Moore. He said someone else was responsible for Shakespeare's slaying.
"There are no eyewitnesses that can testify that Ms. Moore shot and killed Mr. Shakespeare or had any part in carrying out his murder," Hileman said. "There is no proof the revolver … is in fact the murder weapon. The ballistics are inconclusive."
Hileman added there "are no fingerprints linking Ms. Moore to Mr. Shakespeare's body," no tools or materials used to bury him were found and there were no traces of Moore's DNA at the crime scene.
"In fact, there is DNA that suggests there may be an alternative suspect present at the time when blood was shed," Hileman said.
Hileman said on the day Shakespeare died, Shakespeare asked Moore to meet him at the property off State Road 60 near Plant City.
"He had a business meeting with other men," Hileman said. "He needed cash that she temporarily stored in a safe in her office. He needed her to open the safe."
Moore knew there were other people there and didn't sit in on the meeting. It was those unidentified men, Hileman said, who killed Shakespeare.
Pruner said he doesn't believe that account of Shakespeare's death because Moore kept changing her story about Shakespeare's disappearance throughout the investigation.
She also went to great lengths to conceal Shakespeare's death from relatives with the help of a man named Gregory Smith, Pruner said.
Smith is a convicted felon who owed Shakespeare money, Pruner said. Moore met Smith when she took over the responsibility of collecting debts owed to Shakespeare.
Moore paid Smith $300 to call detectives to tell them he saw Shakespeare at a club in Miami, Pruner said, and convinced him to call Shakespeare's mother pretending to be the lottery winner to allay her worries.
Elizabeth Walker told detectives she believed someone was impersonating her son, and Smith was placed under surveillance.
After being interviewed by detectives, Smith decided to help them find Shakespeare's killer by wearing a recording device during conversations with Moore, Pruner said.
Those recordings will be played at some point during the trial.
Hileman said Smith cooperated with investigators to "take the heat off himself and maybe others … who owed money to Mr. Shakespeare" and that Smith framed Moore for the killing.
The trial continues today.