A North Carolina man who won a $10 million lottery in 2017 has been arrested and hit with a murder charge after the body of a 23-year-old woman was found in a hotel room. According to WECT, Michael Todd Hill, 52, was apprehended by the Shallotte Police Department in Southport on Tuesday, a day after Keonna Graham’s body was found at the Sure Stay Hotel.
In an account given by the hotel manager to the news platform, Hill checked into the hotel alone on Sunday, adding that none of the facility’s staff saw Graham with the suspect. When it was past checkout time, a housekeeper tried entering the room but could not gain access despite knocking several times with no response. The manager said they later found Graham’s body – with blood around – after they were eventually able to enter the room.
“I think it’s horrible,” Tiffany Wilson, a family friend of Graham said. “I mean, he just won the lottery. I heard he just got married and you go and kill a young girl? A beautiful girl? I don’t understand.”
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Hill won $10 million from an Ultimate Millions scratch-off ticket in 2017 after making the purchase from a gas station on Maco Road. Employees said Hill, who frequented the station after winning the lottery, seemed like an affable person and never imagined he would be capable of committing the alleged crime. They also told WECT he even gifted the woman who sold him the winning ticket $2000.
“All that money and you are seducing a young girl to go into a hotel?” Wilson said. “I don’t know what the situation is but you had no business being in a hotel with her.”
Graham, who worked as a correctional officer at a North Carolina prison and formerly at a local rehabilitation center for mentally disabled people, was described by a relative as a generous woman whose hobbies included hiking and biking, New York Post reports.
“She did all of this like it was second nature to her,” her cousin said. “We are hurting. We are in pain. Our family is devastated.”
Hill is being held at the Brunswick County Detention Center without bond after his first court appearance. He has been assigned a court appointed attorney after claiming he cannot afford a lawyer despite walking away with over $4 million in a lump sum payment after winning the lottery.