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Nation in brief: Jackpot winner slow to collect

Sat., May 10, 2008, midnight

A construction company owner who lost two homes in Hurricane Katrina claimed a $97 million Powerball prize, a jackpot won off a ticket he bought at a convenience store where he stopped to buy his wife a gallon of milk.

Carl Hunter won the jackpot in January, but the 73-year-old businessman waited nearly four months to claim the prize.

Hunter and his wife, Diane, surrounded by cameras, were decidedly low-key about the multimillion dollar win, saying they didn’t have specific plans for the money – besides retirement and the rebuilding of a camp lost to Katrina.

“I’m retiring, you know, naturally,” Carl Hunter said.

Hunter took a lump sum payment that will give him $33.9 million after taxes, according to lottery officials. Asked why he waited so long to turn in the winning ticket, Hunter said he wanted to wrap up some of his construction work and finish his outstanding contracts.

Rock Island, Tenn.

First the car, then the home

One moment, Justin Hill was turning into his driveway. Minutes later he was being flown to a hospital as his home went up in flames. Then he got a traffic ticket.

Hill, 42, got into a crash after turning into the path of an oncoming car Tuesday evening, said Tennessee Highway Patrol Officer Monte Terry. Hill’s wife heard the crash and ran outside, leaving the kitchen stove, where she had been cooking.

Within minutes, their Rock Island trailer was on fire, and firefighters who had responded to the accident found themselves fighting the blaze.

The rural central Tennessee home had extensive damage. Hill was treated at the hospital and released, but he was cited in the accident for failure to yield.

Platte City, Mo.

Obituaries part of burglary scheme

A burglar who authorities say used the obituary pages to select his targets was convicted of 10 counts Friday.

Prosecutors say Dane S. Johnson and a co-defendant who pleaded guilty burglarized more than 30 Kansas City-area homes, picking their victims by reading real estate listings and obituaries, hitting model homes, homes on real estate tours or homes where owners would be attending funerals.

In one of the five Platte County cases Johnson was convicted of, a man was at a funeral for his wife while Johnson burglarized his home.

“It’s hard to imagine a more cruel and heartless burglary scheme than this one,” Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said.


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