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. Your Son

    Hey Mom !! Hey Dad!!!! It's your long lost son here!!! Hello. Can I have some of that???

    April 18, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  2. Josh

    I am so glad that my new Aunt Merle and Uncle Pat won!

    April 18, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • cigartop420

      Hey Josh,
      It's Uncle Merle and Aunt Pat. Get it right.

      April 18, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  3. cutedog2

    Congratulations Butlers!

    April 18, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Oliver Kloseoff

    At least some 18 year old punk kid didnt win.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. jokey

    Nice trick CNN play the commercial than end stream when I dont want to do an upgrade. CNN Bytes

    April 18, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  6. 28mAmerican

    Congrats. Oh and welcome to the life of fame you never wanted.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. D

    What a shame, let them be anonymous if they want.

    Its none of anyone's business who wins what.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. remember

    lottery is the only way to go!

    April 18, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. Timbo

    Actually, Josh, Merle is the dude and Pat is the chick.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. Sumer Kolcak

    The smile is all amerikan smile. the name is all amerikan, in other words the american system sent signals into earth's crust and ensured the lottery would be won by amerikans that are evil. the ones that supported g.bush

    – Sumer Kolcak

    April 18, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      What a strange, bitter and random rant.

      April 18, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Dude – do you ever re-read what you post? You sound silly bringing President Bush into a Lottery article. Americans are not evil...we just happen to live in the most prosperous country in the world, and most of the world is jealous of that, so they lash out at us. :-)

      April 18, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • CaptRon55

      Dude! Loosen up that aluminum hard hat you're wearing, it's cutting off circulation to your brain!

      April 18, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. alfranken

    The sad thing is they will no longer know who their friends are and the ones they thought they knew will become either envious, opportunistic, or both and relationships between family and friends could become frayed. (not all of course)

    You must know what you are doing when you have that kind of money because it can destroy everything you value the most.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  12. RealityBlows

    Ahhh. The mystery is solved. I should have guessed it. The Butler's did it!

    April 18, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. jason

    Red Bud, Ill ??

    Isnt that where Chevy Chase moved in the movie FUnny Farm? Funny movie by the way.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. Why

    We have the same nose,DAD!!

    April 18, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. MakeItStop22

    Now that the three legitimate winners have come forward, could someone please go talk to the woman who claimed she won and ask her what she was thinking? She certainly exposed herself as selfish and foolish (I won't even mention the greedy part) and for what? Why would anyone set themself up like that?

    April 18, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Greenspam

      some people would do anything for 15-minutes of fame.

      April 18, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Dianne

      MakeItStop – Enough time has been wasted on that fool who claimed to have the ticket; I certainly hope all these media clowns that hounded her and reported that non-news don't waste any more of our time. I think you answered your own question as to why she did it: "foolish" "selfish" "greedy". And the media made fools of themselves in even reporting it, when there was absolutely nothing to report. I'm glad she wasn't the real winner. Congratulations to the Butlers!

      April 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
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