Winning the lottery can bring immense happiness, as well as wealth. Many people choose to remain anonymous when they win a huge jackpot, and for good reasons. Sometimes, winning a massive cash prize can have terrible consequences. Here are the dreadful stories of a selection of lottery winners who died in tragic circumstances.
In 2006, Florida-born Abraham Shakespeare, who was 42 years old won a massive $17 million jackpot prize. However, just three years later he was killed by a woman called DeeDee Moore, who had made a beeline for him, and his money. In that space of time, she managed to take nearly $2 million from Shakespeare.
In a desperately brutal act, Moore and her boyfriend killed Shakespeare and then buried him beneath a concrete slab in a wooded area afterward. He was reported as a missing person for several months before she eventually came forward and admitted she knew where the body was. On December 10, 2012, Dee Dee Moore was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole “with an additional minimum sentence of 25 years for possessing a gun in the course of a violent felony”.
At his death, Shakespeare left behind two sons.
In 1996, Jeffrey Dampier, aged 39 won a $20 million lottery jackpot prize in Illinois. For ten years he seemed to live happily – being able to spend the money on his family, but it later emerged he’d been murdered in 2005 by his sister-in-law and her husband.
When he won the lottery in 1996 he was already married, but he and his wife separated yet agreed to split the winnings between them. He later moved to Florida and remarried, Crystal Jackson.
However, it was whilst he was living in Tampa, he began an affair with his new wife’s sister Vanessa. She and her husband Nathaniel lured him into the apartment which he paid for them to live in on July 26, 2005, and shot him in the back of the head. They believed they would inherit his money if he died – though it’s not clear why they mistakenly thought this. His widow commented at the time that winning the lottery was “a curse”
Doris Murray won $5 million in the Georgian lottery in 2007. She was stabbed to death a year later by an ex-boyfriend Murray, from Dublin, Georgia, who was believed to want to use the money to set up a trust fund for her grandchildren’s future but she stabbed to death a little over a year after claiming her prize.
Her ex-boyfriend Derrick Lorenzo Stanley was eventually charged with killing her. Doris had requested her prize be paid in $172,000, yearly installments over 20 years. It is now paid to whoever was in her will at the time of her death.
Police reported that she and Stanley had gotten into a fight when she tried to end the relationship. Neighbors had then called the police when they saw him leaving the apartment block she lived in with blood on his face.
It may not have been the biggest lottery win ever, but in 2010, Ohio resident Deborah McDonald had been out with friends celebrating the fact she’d won a $5,000 cash prize.
After her win, on the Cash Explosion game, she went to claim her money at a local TV station and record a show. She went out for dinner with friends and family afterward, but sadly on her way home, she was mown down in a car accident and killed. Her death was treated as suspicious at first, but after a while, it was revealed it had indeed, just been a sad accident.
Craigory Burch Jr
In November 2015 Craigory Burch, Jr. won nearly a half million dollars in a Georgia lottery game.
Just two months later, after what looked like an invasion of his home, he was found dead suffering from gunshot wounds to his head.
Armed robbers entered the 20-year-old’s home with masks and shotguns and demanded that he hand over his winnings.
According to his girlfriend, who ran for help during the robbery, Burch pleaded with them not to kill him whilst his kids were in the house. He said they could have his bank card, but when the thieves ransacked the house and couldn’t find his wallet they shot him and ran away.
Burch had recently used some of his $434,272 Fantasy 5 winnings to buy Christmas presents for people who were, that year, less fortunate than he had been.
Urooj Khan’s story is a very sad one. Apparently addicted to gambling on the lottery he’d decided on an amnesty from buying tickets – after just one last purchase. The 46-year-old Chicagoan however, dropped very lucky when his ticket came in and he won $1 million.
He took the cash in one lump sum and couldn’t wait to get his hands on the $425,000 prize. He never got to see a single dollar of it, for he dropped dead the day after it was announced he’d won. The coroner said it was natural causes. However, a close family member wasn’t buying it and asked for another autopsy. That revealed that Khan actually died of cyanide poisoning. His estate got the money, and the case is now being treated as a homicide.
Ryan McKechnie won $66,000 on the Irish Lotto back in 2012. As a former drug addict, McKechnie he’d already kicked his habits prior to winning and was in the midst of raising his three children alone after their mother died of drug-related causes in 2013.
Generous with his friends, however, the money was all spent very quickly, forcing McKechnie to struggle to make ends meet for himself and his family.
However, some believed that he still had a stash of cash that he was hiding from others and set out to prove it. He was found stabbed to death in his home in February.
These sad tales are a cautionary warning that winning the lottery doesn’t always bring great happiness.