Skip to comments.A Sad but True Texas Lottery Winner Story ....
Posted on 11/27/2004 4:07:31 AM PST by DirtyHarryY2K
A Sad but True Texas Lottery Winner Story
Originally Posted: Nov 24, 2004 Revised:
Less than two years after Billie Bob Harrell Jr. took the $31 million lottery jackpot, he took his own life Harrell, a former Pentecostal preacher, was a Home Depot stocker when he hit the jackpot.
Billie Bob's (Mis) Fortune
BY STEVE MCVICKER
From the Week of Thursday, February 10, 2000
Many have the same dream: finding the six magical numbers that unlock the treasure known as the Texas Lottery. Then life would be good. Problems would vanish. There are even the collective fantasies of what to buy and with whom to share this new, instant wealth.
Billie Bob Harrell Jr. shared those common visions by common souls seeking the salvation of sudden fortune.
And in June 1997, he found it.
He sat in his easy chair one evening and looked at his Quick Pick and then at the Sunday newspaper. Harrell studied the sequence of numbers again and began to realize the wildest of notions. He and wife Barbara Jean held the only winning ticket to a Lotto Texas jackpot of $31 million.
Harrell, a deeply religious man, knew he had a godsend from heaven. After being laid off from a couple of jobs in the past few years, Billie Bob had been reduced to stocking the electrical-supply shelves of a Home Depot in northeast Harris County. He was having a damn hard time providing for himself and Barbara Jean, much less for their three teenage children.
Every Wednesday and Saturday those kids were on his mind when he'd scrape together a few spare dollars to purchase a couple or so lottery tickets. Sometimes he'd use the sequence of his children's birth dates to choose his numbers. Other times he'd let the state's computer do his choosing for him. That random selection finally paid off, transforming Harrell into a millionaire overnight on a warm evening in June.
The hard times were history when he arrived in Austin about a month later, with an entourage that included his family, his minister and his attorneys, to collect the first of 25 annual checks for $1.24 million.
Life had been tough, he said at the formal lottery ceremony, but he had persevered through the worst of it.
"I wasn't going to give up," said Harrell, then 47. "Everyone kept telling me it would get better. I didn't realize it would get this much better."
In fact, it was great. At least for a while. Harrell purchased a ranch. He bought a half-dozen homes for himself and other family members. He, his wife and all the kids got new automobiles. He made large contributions to his church. If members of the congregation needed help, Billie Bob was there with cash.
Then suddenly Harrell discovered that his life was unraveling almost as quickly as it had come together. He relished the role of being an easy touch. But everyone, it seemed -- family, friends, fellow worshipers and strangers -- was putting the touch on him. His spending and his lending spiraled out of control. In February those tensions splintered his already strained marriage.
And on May 22, 1999, 20 months after hitting lottery pay dirt, Harrell locked himself inside an upstairs bedroom of his fashionable Kingwood home and stood at the point of no return. Investigators say he stripped away his clothes, pressed a shotgun barrel against his chest and fired.
Billie Bob Harrell was gone forever. So was the fortune, and even the family that had rejoiced with him when the shower of riches had first rained upon them. A schism has widened between the children and grandparents, who cannot even agree on whether Billie Bob took his own life. And an intrafamily war looms over the remnants of the fortune, which may not even be enough to pay estate taxes.
Perhaps the only thing not in dispute about his life and death is the jarring impact of money: It may not have caused his problems, but it certainly didn't solve them.
Shortly before his death, Harrell confided to a financial adviser: "Winning the lottery is the worst thing that ever happened to me."
All over the world, dishonest governments are using the lottery (the big prize) to finance the budget.
The lottery is nothing but a tax on those who cannot comprehend Probability and Statistics
First thing I'd do is put half of the money where I can't touch it.
Could this story be less complete? It might as well say "Once apon a time." Where's the rest of it?
BTW, I'm curious if you know how such dishonest governments as the german and french steal the jackpot ...
No, late Mr. Harrell, winning the lottery was NOT the worst thing that ever happened to you. Your own weakness in letting yourself be bankrupted by fake-o sob stories from every con artist and new "friend" that came down the pike was the worst thing that ever happened to you.
Otherwise known as the Tax on the Stoopid.
1. Think about how many people scrape together a few dollars that could be used to better their family's condition. Kind of like Evita the musical. The lottery: A voluntary tax on the mathematically challenged.
2. Just because a relative or neighbor becomes wealthy does not allow us to put a claim on that wealth. What sort of man asks for help unless he is starving? I can see how a peer acquiring great wealth could put a strain on the relationship, but I wonder about the people who surrounded this man. I see no pleasure in spending another man's money.
The guy simply couldn't manage his life ... period. He didn't have it bad before or after winning the lottery.
Well, he sure showed THEM! That'll teach'em!
If this ever happened to me, I'd have no problem telling family and total stranger deadbeats and sponges to go pi$$ up a rope.
Lotterys are nothing but legalized theft from the poor and ignorant.
AND QUIT TAXING US 'RICH FOLKS'!!!
The most sad thing is that he only got a name after he died
True. This guy had very severe mental problems. Most people would have just realized that "the problem" was that they were too easy giving out money to people and just made simple adjustments to curb that "problem" behavior/problem.
Agreed, Don't try to live like Donald Trump. Just live a lot better the way you are. IOW pretend like nothing happened and keep mouth shut. :^x