Lottery winners are supposed to have the “happily ever after,” aren’t they? Once money problems fly out the window, you’d be left with enjoying life and planning for the future. That’s what most people would think, but reality tends to be much more sinister in some situations.
We’ve spoken about the lotto winner curse. After getting those millions, many have blamed them for ruining their lives completely. There have been lottery winners becoming addicted to drugs, lottery winners losing money for the most foolish of reasons, lottery winners getting divorced, and even committing suicide.
But some stories are even more unbelievable.
There have been instances of lottery winners committing serious crimes, even murder, in the aftermath of becoming richer. Why would someone do that and ruin the prospects of a perfect life in the future? Let’s take a look at some of these dark stories.
The Rent Argument
This story from the US doesn’t involve premeditated murder, but it serves as evidence of how one’s life can quickly turn around.
In 2012, a lottery winner from Detroit was sentenced to 25 to 30 years in prison for shooting his daughter’s landlord.
Freddie Young’s daughter had been having some landlord trouble, even though her father won 1.6 million dollars through a syndicate lottery win. The argument, as you’ve probably presumed already, revolved around unpaid rent.
Somehow, Freddie got involved, and in the heat of the argument, he shot the 45-year-old Greg McNicol. Greg died outside of the apartment building he owned, and Freddie told the police he didn’t realize that he was holding a gun until the weapon went off.
Greg McNicol’s widow also filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit on top of the criminal charges. Such procedures are used by victims and their families to seek compensation from those causing death or injury. As a result of the civil lawsuit, Freddie Young’s lottery prize was frozen and became inaccessible.
Drug Addiction and Murderous Intent
This lottery winner story follows a classic trajectory. If you’ve gone through some of our articles, you’re already familiar with the descent into drug addiction that becomes a reality for so many lotto winners out there.
In 1991, Willie Hurt, a man who won 3.1 million dollars from the lottery two years prior, was accused of killing a woman in a crack cocaine argument.
Hurt made headlines when he won the massive Michigan Super Lotto award. He chose annuity payments over 20 years. This seemed like the smart thing to do, but it turned out that Willie wasn’t planning for the future.
In 1991, Willie’s attorney said that he was completely broke and that he was also going through a divorce. That was also the time when Willie was accused of shooting the 30-year-old Wendy Elizabeth Kimmey over some crack cocaine.
Her body was found in a motel where Willie had been renting a room for the past three weeks. According to witnesses, Elizabeth and Willie lived together. They had been on a lengthy drug and alcohol binge before him shooting her in the head.
Eventually, Willie Hurt turned himself into the police. He signed a confession, but later on, he said he had no memory of this happening. The prosecution ordered a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether Willie was fit to stand trial.
Media stopped reporting on the case soon after, and it’s unclear precisely what happened to Willie Hurt and whether he got sentenced. With an overwhelming amount of evidence against him, however, it would have been nearly impossible for him to dodge the bullet (figuratively, of course!).
A Tragic Family Story
Of all stories shared so far, this one is probably the most tragic because it involves minors and their unstable father.
A 43-year-old lottery winner from the UK killed his two sons, aged five and 11 at the time, before committing suicide.
David Stokes killed his two boys in November 2016. Police officers found them huddled in bed together after a lengthy siege and a hostage situation.
It all started when David won 40,000 pounds from the lottery. At the time, David and his wife Sally were estranged but on good terms. Things started changing when Sally accused David of blowing the money on drugs and prostitutes.
Enraged by the accusation, David killed his two sons before attacking Sally with a rolling pin and holding her hostage for over five hours. In a potentially drug-fueled rage, he blamed her for everything that had occurred.
Eventually, Sally managed to escape from the house and get the neighbors involved. When the police arrived, however, it was too late. The law enforcement professionals found the two dead boys, and they also discovered the body of their father, who had stabbed himself to death with a kitchen knife.
Luckily, such stories are relatively rare, and most lottery winners do fine.
But the three terrible crimes described above stand as yet another evidence of the claim that money can’t buy you happiness. When people have something missing in their lives, they can’t fill the void with luxuries and drugs.
Others have become emboldened by their wins to start breaking the law and take justice into their own hands.
Luckily, we couldn’t discover another story of a lottery winner becoming a murderer, but there’s a vast array of instances in which lotto winners have committed crimes. A criminal mind obviously cannot be appeased by a big fortune, and we do hope that the police keep on doing a stellar job in these investigations.