A North Carolina man who won a $10 million lottery in 2017 has been sentenced to life in prison for the shooting death of his girlfriend. According to The News & Observer, Michael Hill was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in 2020 after authorities found the body of 23-year-old Keonna Graham at SureStay Hotel in Shallotte.
Graham’s lifeless body was found with a “gunshot wound to the back of the head” after she was reported missing on July 20, 2020, the 15th Prosecutorial District of North Carolina said. Graham and Hill had been romantically involved for over a year at the time of her death. And Hill was 52 when authorities arrested him in connection with Graham’s fatal shooting.
“Surveillance footage from the hotel showed Hill as the only individual in the hotel room with Graham,” prosecutors stated in a news release. “Hill was later arrested by law enforcement in Southport, North Carolina and confessed to shooting Graham after she had been texting other men while at the hotel.”
Hill, who was found guilty by a jury on May 27, will serve “life in prison without the possibility of parole and 22-36 months in prison for Possession of Firearm by Felon to run concurrent with his life sentence,” officials announced.
“The District Attorney’s Office would like to thank our local law enforcement agencies for their collaborative efforts in the investigation of Graham’s death,” Assistant District Attorney Shirley Smircic said in the news release. “The hard work of these officers ensured a just result in this case.”
Hill was employed at a nuclear plant when he won the lottery in 2017. But at the time of his 2020 arrest, he was assigned a court-appointed attorney after he claimed that he could not afford a lawyer despite walking away with over $4 million in a lump sum payment after winning the lottery.