A retired Illinois couple has claimed their share of last month's record-breaking Mega Millions jackpot. Merle and Pat Butler, of Red Bud, Illinois, matched all numbers in the March 30th drawing. They hold the third winning ticket, worth $218 million from a total jackpot of $656 million.
Merle Butler, 65, told reporters that the moment he realized he held the winning ticket he looked at his wife and said, "We won." He went on to explain her reaction, "Then she looked at me funny, and I said, 'No, we won.'" These few words changed Pat's life. Merle said his wife "giggled for about four hours." If you just found out you won $218 million (before taxes), you'd probably be in a similar mood.
The couple only spent $3 to win their share of the jackpotÂ—not a bad investment considering the size of their winnings. They purchased the three tickets in their hometown of Red Bud, which is a small community of only about 3,700 people.
The couple came forward Wednesday in the town's city hall. The Butler's said that they spent the last two weeks hiring financial advisers and a lawyer. They're going to need someone to help them manage the $158 million that they will receive after taxes.
The owners of the two other Mega Millions jackpot tickets have preciously come forward. Three winners split their share in Maryland, and one claimed their share in Kansas. All of these winners have chosen to remain anonymous; an option that is not available to citizens of Illinois. Hopefully Merle and Pat Butler can avoid any backlash of winning the lotto and enjoy their fortune for years to come!