Jittery jurors in Florida’s sensational lottery murder trial asked the judge to provide them with a security escort when they enter and leave the courtroom. The jurors in the trial of Dee Dee Moore, who stands accused of murdering lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare in 2009, complained to Judge Emmett Battles that a witness and friends of the deceased were making them feel nervous outside the courtroom. They also told the Judge that Moore was staring them down as they sat in the jury box.
Ms. Moore is accused of murdering Shakespeare for his winnings in the Florida lottery. The impoverished casual laborer won the 30 million dollar jackpot in a 2006 drawing and elected to take a one time after tax payment of 17 million dollars. Mr. Shakespeare had burned through a good portion of his windfall before he met Moore, who offered to help him write a book about his negative experiences as a lottery winner.
Instead of helping him write a book, the prosecutors allege that Moore took total control of the man’s money. She is alleged to have stolen $1 million and bought herself a home, a Hummer, a Chevrolet Corvette, and a truck before going on an expensive vacation. To this day, Moore insists everything she received was a gift from Shakespeare.
On November 9, 2009, Shakespeare’s family went to the police to report him missing, saying that they had not seen him since April of that year. Police received a tip and later discovered Mr. Shakespeare’s body in five feet of dirt under a new concrete slab in the backyard of Moore’s boyfriend, Shar Krasniqi. At the time of his death on April 6 or 7, the lonely lottery winner was 43 years old.
Police arrested Ms. Moore on February 2, 2010, and, on February 19, 2010, she was charged with first degree murder. Although the prosecution is not seeking the death penalty, the trial has attracted major media attention due to the cruel fate of the victim and the antics of Ms. Moore. On November 30, 2012, the trial was delayed after Moore claimed she went into anaphylactic shock in jail. She told the Judge about her medical woes in a packed courtroom:
“I was having anaphylactic shock, sir, because they gave me a medicine called Bactrim for a kidney infection. I had an allergic reaction to it, and my tongue swelled up really bad last night and they admitted me into the infirmary.”
Moore has insisted on her innocence and claims she only acted in the best interest of Abraham Shakespeare, who she still refers to as a friend. After the murder, she is alleged to have sent texts and letters to friends and family of Shakespeare, written in his name, that stated he was fine. According to the messages, he was in hiding because he was sick and tired of everyone asking him for money.
The prosecution rocked Moore’s claims of innocence by pointing out to the jury that Abraham Shakespeare was completely illiterate and was incapable of sending texts or letters. According to Polk County, Florida authorities, Moore offered a person a $200,000 house to report a sighting of Shakespeare and even had a friend call the victim’s mother pretending to be her son.
Jurors have complained to the Judge about Moore’s facial expressions during the trial. Last Thursday, he issued a stern warning to the defendant:
“Miss Moore, I’ve cautioned you throughout these proceedings. I’m warning you. I think I’m going to make it clear for the last time.”
One of the prosecution witnesses, Greg Smith has also made the jurors feel uncomfortable. Two jurors say Smith, a former friend of Moore, started them down in the parking garage after Friday’s court session, and a third juror said that friends of Shakespeare in the gallery were making her nervous. Judge Battles asked one juror if she would still be able to render a fair verdict. She told the judge she would do her duty and addressed her fears:
“I just want to feel safe.”
After a week of fits and starts and some intense melodrama, the murder trial of Dee Dee Moore continues. We can only wish that life had been been kinder for Abraham Shakespeare.