POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The story of a Polk County man going from millionaire to murder victim will once again be told to a national audience.
This weekend, BET’s show “Murder in the Thirst” will highlight the life and death of Abraham Shakespeare.
Shakespeare won a $30 million lottery jackpot in 2006.
He chose a lump sum of $17 million and spent the next few years paying it forward in his community.
“Abraham was a giving individual. He came from poverty to become a lottery winner and he just gave so much money away. He became Polk County’s stimulus package,” said Merissa Green, a former reporter at The Ledger.
Then Shakespeare went missing in 2009.
Green wrote dozens of articles about his disappearance and the aftermath.
“There was a lot of information sharing between myself and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. There was information that I was bringing to light that they didn’t have and vice versa,” she said. “We sort of worked together in bringing justice for the families and the friends of Abraham Shakespeare.”
Shakespeare’s body was found buried in a yard under concrete behind a Plant City home in 2010.
A woman named Dorice “DeeDee” Moore was found guilty of murdering him and is serving a life sentence.
“DeeDee Moore realized very quickly that Abraham Shakespeare was illiterate. He couldn’t read or write. She took advantage of him and she transferred all of his assets and his properties and his money into her company’s name,” said Green.
In the years since, Green has left journalism but has appeared in countless network shows about the Shakespeare case. The latest is BET’s “Murder in the Thirst.”
She flew to California for her five-hour interview.
“It’s an unusual case because she was a white woman who killed a black man and that’s not a headline you read about all the time,” she said.
In Shakespeare’s memory, Green advocates for literacy.
She is hosting a watch party at Beef’O’Brady’s in Winter Haven Sunday night. Green will highlight the importance of literacy for both children and adults.
“If you do not know how to read and write, someone like Dee Dee Moore can take advantage of you,” she warned.
If you can’t make the watch party, you can still watch Shakespeare’s episode of “Murder in the Thirst” Sunday at 9 p.m. on BET.