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Retired Couple Bought Winning Mega Millions Ticket In Illinois

Merle and Patricia Butler (at right) accepting their ceremonial check earlier today. i i

hide captionMerle and Patricia Butler (at right) accepting their ceremonial check earlier today.

Illinois Lottery
Merle and Patricia Butler (at right) accepting their ceremonial check earlier today.

Merle and Patricia Butler (at right) accepting their ceremonial check earlier today.

Illinois Lottery

The winning ticket in Illinois from last month's record $656 Mega Millions lottery has been turned in by a retired couple from the little town of Red Bud, Ill.

"Merle Butler, 65, and his wife Patricia, 62, accepted the giant check Wednesday morning," as Chicago's WLS-TV reports.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Merle Butler "purchased the winning ticket at a local Moto Mart store using the quick pick method, a set of numbers automatically generated by a computer. He spent $3 on tickets."

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Merle Butler told reporters today that when he started to check his tickets against the winning numbers on March 30:

"The further I went, the more they matched. ... After I looked at it for a couple minutes, I turned to my wife, who was right there with me, and (I said) 'We won.' She kind of looked at me funny, and I said, 'No, we won.'

"She started giggling," he said. "And she giggled for about four hours I think."

As we've reported before, winning tickets were also sold in Maryland and Kansas. The winners in those states, though, have chosen to remain anonymous. Illinois requires its winners to be identified.

The Associated Press says the Butlers have chosen "to accept the prize as a lump-sum payment of $158 million after taxes."

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