Retired Illinois couple claims share of record Mega Millions jackpot
Pat Butler and her husband, Merle Butler, of Red Bud, Illinois, are the last winners of March 30's record Mega Millions jackpot to claim their prize.
April 18th, 2012
11:10 AM ET

Retired Illinois couple claims share of record Mega Millions jackpot

[Updated at 11:26 a.m. ET] Merle and Pat Butler, lifetime residents of Red Bud, Illinois, hold the third winning ticket worth $218 million in last month's record $656 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot, officials announced Wednesday.

"I looked (at) my wife, who was right there with me, and said, 'We won,' Merle Butler, 65, told reporters in Red Bud on Wednesday of the moment he realized he had a winning ticket on the night of the March 30 drawing. "Then she looked at me funny, and I said, 'No, we won.' "

"She giggled for about four hours, I think," he said.

The retired couple bought just three numbers for the drawing, meaning they spent $3 to win their share of the jackpot. They bought the ticket in Red Bud, a community of about 3,700 people roughly 25 miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri.

The Butlers came forward publicly in their hometown's City Hall on Wednesday after spending the past two weeks hiring "real good financial advisers" and a lawyer to help them manage their new fortune, which is $158 million after taxes are deducted, they said.

Two other winning tickets (worth roughly $218 million each, before taxes) were sold for the March 30 drawing that had a record $656 million pretax payout: One in Maryland, and one in Kansas.

The three people who shared a winning ticket in Maryland and the one winner in Kansas claimed their prizes earlier this month, but they exercised their rights in those states to not reveal their names. Illinois, unlike those states, requires lottery winners to come forward publicly.

Still, the Maryland lottery winners made it known that they are three public school employees - a woman in her 20s, a man in his 40s and a woman in her 50s. The Maryland winners are an elementary school teacher, a special education teacher and an administrative worker, according to Maryland Lottery.

The man and two women who shared ownership of the winning ticket in Maryland are known only as the "Three Amigos." They said they plan to keep their fortune a secret - and keep working.

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soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. High Hopes

    Don't You Ever be Lonely...
    -Mariah Carey

    Love,
    Hope

    April 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Hillsidewombat

    Bonus! Still eligible for Social Security!

    April 18, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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