A Georgia lottery winner was killed during a home invasion two months after he cashed in. Authorities are unsure what motivated the intruders to break into 20-year-old Craigory Burch Jr.’s home and shoot him dead in front of his girlfriend and 2-year-old child. However, they suspect the burglars were after his lottery winnings. On Monday, authorities announced seven suspects were arrested in connection with Burch’s death.
In November 2015, Craigory Burch Jr. hit the jackpot in Georgia’s Fantasy 5 lottery. WALB reports the forklift driver used a portion of his winnings to purchase Christmas gifts for needy adults and children in his Fitzgerald community.
Fewer than two months later, the Georgia lottery winner was shot and killed by intruders inside his Stubbs Avenue home. Jasmine Hendricks, who witnessed the assault, said Burch was holding his 2-year-old child when the burglars broke into their home.
“When they came in, he said, ‘don’t do it bro. Don’t do it in front of my kids. Please don’t do it in front of my kids and old lady. Please don’t do that bro. Please don’t.’ He said I’ll give you my bank card.”
Hendricks said Craigory Burch Jr. tossed his pants, which contained his wallet, toward the intruders. However, when they were unable to find any money in the pockets, they shot the Georgia lottery winner to death and fled the scene.
On Monday, the Ben Hill County Sheriff’s Department announced the arrest of seven individuals who were charged in connection with the home intrusion and Bruch’s murder. The suspects were identified by Fox News as Nathaniel Baker, 28, Earnest Holcombe, 27, Keyana Dyous, 24, Rosalyn Swain, 22, Anjavell Johnson, 21, Dabrentise Overstreet, 19, and a 17-year-old male.
“When they came in, he said…+
RIP Craigory Burch Jr., philanthropist, age 20, shot dead in a home invasion. pic.twitter.com/2LSE9NA1Su
— Black Dove Invictus (@Black_Dove) January 27, 2016
Although seven people were arrested and charged, Ben Hill Sheriff Bobby McLemore confirmed the investigation into the Georgia lottery winner’s murder is ongoing and more arrests are expected.
Seven Charged With Murder in Death of Georgia Lottery Winner https://t.co/stLA3bypfk pic.twitter.com/rGjhBNO2s4
— OffTheGrid (@CNMNewz) March 29, 2016
Craigory Burch Jr.’s murder raises questions about lottery winners’ privacy and safety.
In most states, the identity of lottery winners is made public per state law. As reported by Mashable, these laws are in place for numerous reasons. In addition to “proving to the public that real people can win,” the laws are meant to prevent cheating and fraud.
Former Florida Lottery attorney Dan Russell explains.
“[Allowing anonymity] throws a layer of assistance to someone who wants to rig a drawing… It is of no value to those of us who want the system to operate in a clean manner. That is absolutely the wrong idea.”
However, cases like the Georgia lottery winner who was killed, presumably for a portion of his winnings, have prompted some states to protect the identities of lottery winners.
Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Carolina are the only states that currently allow lottery winners to remain completely anonymous.
Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont publish the name of the person or persons who collect the winnings. However, the winnings can be collected by a trustee without publicly revealing the identity of the original ticket holder.
Lottery winners in Illinois and Oregon have the option of remaining anonymous. However, they are required to prove that they are at “a high risk of harm” if their identity is revealed.
Although physical harm is a legitimate concern, lottery winners are also at risk of assaults, which may seem more innocuous.
In addition to pressure from family and friends for loans, jackpot winners are often approached by con artists with investment scams. Unfortunately, most lottery winners simply do not have experience handling large sums of money, and therefore, become easy prey for crooks.
Unfortunately, it is too late for Craigory Burch Jr. However, his death may encourage lawmakers to reexamine laws that reveal the identity of jackpot winners. All seven suspects in the Georgia lottery winner’s death were charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and murder. Prosecutors said the 17-year-old male, who was not identified, will be charged as an adult.
[Image via Rrraum/Shutterstock]