The Sideshow

Mega Millions jackpot goes to retired Illinois couple

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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Merle and Patricia Butler stand next to their Mega Millions jackpot check (AP/Seth Perlman)

A retired couple from southern Illinois has claimed the third and final ticket from last month's $656 million Mega Millions jackpot.

Merle and Patricia Butler appeared at a ceremony on Wednesday morning in their hometown of Red Bud with Illinois Lottery officials. It was announced that the Butlers chose to take a lump sum payment of $158 million after taxes.

The other two winning parties have kept their names anonymous. But it was recently announced that three Maryland school employees had purchased the second of the Mega Millions jackpot tickets. All three were working second jobs just to cover their monthly bills.

The Butlers bought their winning Mega Millions ticket for $3 on March 30, at a MotoMart convenience store in Red Bud, about 40 miles southeast of St. Louis, Mo. The same day the Butlers purchased their ticket, the Mega Millions hit a record of $640 million.

The Mega Millions jackpot has generated several fascinating stories about other winners and at least one person who claimed to have been a jackpot winner.

A group of firefighters in New Mexico announced they were donating part of their winnings to a fellow fireman suffering from a life-threatening tumor. Meanwhile, a Baltimore woman had claimed to have hidden one of the winning jackpot tickets inside a local McDonald's before the actual winners came forward to claim their prize.

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