North Carolina Lottery Winner Sentenced to Life in Prison
Published: June 10, 2022
In 2017, Michael Todd Hill from Leland, North Carolina, made the news after winning more than $12.5 million on a scratch-off ticket bought at a gas station. He later described the moment as “life-changing”.
He agreed to take home a lump sum of around $7.5 million or nearly $4.2 million after state and federal tax. He wanted to use the money to pay off bills and invest in new business opportunities.
In July 2020, another “life-changing” event happened to Hill when he shot his 23-year-old girlfriend at a hotel. At the time the murder took place, the two had been in a relationship for about a year and a half.
According to prosecutors, the main motive behind this crime was Hill’s jealousy.
The victim, Keonna Graham, was shot in the head while sleeping. After her body was discovered, the subsequent investigation showed that Hill was the only person in the room with the victim. Hill was taken into custody the next day, and he later confessed to killing his girlfriend.
Her family reported her missing after she didn’t show up for work. Graham was a corrections officer at Pender Correctional Institution.
After a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder, the former nuclear power plant worker was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Hill was also sentenced to 22 to 36 months in prison for illegal firearm possession. Prosecutors stated the term would run concurrently with his life sentence.
The local television station interviewed a friend of the victim’s family and even spoke with employees at the place where Hill bought his winning lottery ticket a couple of years before.
They were shocked to hear that Hill had committed the murder. The store employee described Hill as a “nice guy” and a regular customer. After winning his prize, he even returned to the store to gift $2,500 to the girl who sold him the ticket to say thanks.