Craigory Burch Jr., Georgia Lottery Winner, Killed During Home Invasion, No Suspects Arrested

Georgia Lottery winner Craigory Burch Jr. was shot and killed during an overnight home invasion in south Georgia, authorities said Thursday. As WALB-TV in Albany reports, his girlfriend was home at the time of the invasion and ran for help. Officials say no arrests have been made in the death of Craigory, a forklift operator who won the $434,272 Fantasy 5 jackpot last November. Friends told the station that Burch used some of his winnings to buy Christmas presents for people in need.

After winning the jackpot, Burch said, “I knew that I would come into money,” according to a Georgia Lottery news release. “I couldn’t believe it at first. I was stunned. I’m still overwhelmed.”

Sadly, Burch is yet another lottery winner who met an untimely demise in what many call the Lotto Death Curse. The Daily Beast penned an article in 2010 that questions whether or not “sudden wealth and violent death go hand in hand.”

“I don’t think there’s such a thing as a lottery curse, but rather that stupid is as stupid does,” says Edward Ugel, whose book Money for Nothing: One Man’s Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions recounts the seven years he worked as a loan shark. “When you hear about tragedies happening to lottery winners, it all boils down to one question: Who was this person before they won?”

An example of “stupid is as stupid does” is the case of businessman Jeffrey Dampier, who won $20 million in the Illinois lotto. He used some of the winnings to open a gourmet popcorn shop, and he foolishly spent a mint on his sister-in-law with whom he’d been having an affair. Not satisfied with lavish gifts he was showering her with, Dampier’s sister-in-law and her boyfriend decided to come for his money. They kidnapped Jeffrey, shot him to death, and are currently serving life sentences for the crime.

Another lottery winner who lost big was Doris Murray. As CBS.com reported, she was able to keep a low, modest profile after winning the Georgia jackpot for $5 million in 2007, but when she tried to break up with her boyfriend, he stabbed her to death just a year after she won. Family and friends insist it was all over the money.

Many are familiar with the story of Abraham Shakespeare who won a $30 million lottery jackpot in 2006. In 2009, his family declared him missing, and in 2010 his body was found buried under a concrete slab in the backyard of an acquaintance, Dorris “Dee Dee” Moore. She was convicted of his murder and is now serving life in prison without the possibility of parole. She has maintained that she was trying to help him hide from family members, friends, and users who were trying to take his money, even though she admitted to taking $2 million from him.

Shakespeare’s story was profiled in the television program Curse of the Lottery, and Dorris was also the subject of a 2014 episode of Snapped on the Oxygen Channel, as well as a 2013 episode of American Greed. Her case was also featured on an episode of Deadly Women. Before his death, Abraham reportedly told his mother he wished he’d never won the lottery.

“Of the thousands of lottery winners I knew, a few were happy and a few lived happily ever after,” says Ugel. “But you would be blown away to see how many winners wish they’d never won.”

A lottery winner killed by his own hand was Billie Bob Harrell, Jr., who hit the big $31 million dollar jackpot in Texas. He donated tens of thousands to charities but after making bad financial deals, squandering away his riches, and separating from his wife, grief and depression consumed Billie Bob, and he was found dead inside his home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His is yet another name on the ever-growing list of lottery winners that prove not everyone who hits the jackpot goes on to live happily ever after.

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