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Thursday, November 20, 1997

Third area lottery winner dies

By ROY A. JONES II / Abilene Reporter-News

Last week's death of an Eastland woman marked the third in the small community of Big Country residents who have struck it rich in the Texas Lottery.

The death of Mary Beatrice Sancillo, 70, means that of the 10 winning Texas Lotto tickets sold in the Big Country to area residents, nearly one-third have been touched by death. Two other winning tickets sold in the Big Country were purchased by people who lived elsewhere.

Two of the winning Lotto tickets sold in the Big Country had multiple winners -- 19 employees of BJ Services, Inc., of Snyder shared half of a $35 million jackpot on June 5, 1996, and 43 people in Roby shared a $46 million jackpot. Thanksgiving Day will be the one-year anniversary of their big win.

Mrs. Sancillo was the wife of Ben Sancillo, a former Eastland and Ranger police officer and Eastland County deputy sheriff who was one of 16 winners sharing the state's first $50 million jackpot on Feb. 21, 1996. Sancillo's winning share was $3,900,345.

The two other area winners who both died shortly after they received their good fortune were:

Donny David Doster, 57, of Stamford, became the Big Country's biggest Texas Lottery millionaire when he won $35.3 million last Feb. 5. Less than five months later, on July 30, he died in an Abilene hospital from complications stemming from heart bypass surgery earlier that day.

Porter Richardson, 80, a retired longtime Colorado City radio station engineer, died in June 1995, only three months after he won a $4.3 million jackpot.

Texas Lottery Commission officials said Richardson was the first Lotto winner to die before all payments had been made. By law, the remaining the remaining 19 payments are going to his heirs, as stated in his will.

Unlike Doster, Richardson was in poor health when he won the jackpot, and Mrs. Sancillo had been a kidney patient for many years. A friend said Doster went to his doctor for a routine physical exam and was found to have major heart blockage. Two days later he died after a quadruple bypass operation.

Meanwhile, a Big Spring woman who won $12.87 million in the Texas Lotto two years ago is awaiting a decision on how much of her winnings she will have to share with her husband, who was in prison when she became one of three persons to share a $51.5 million jackpot.

Shortly after she accepted her first check for more than $643,000, Carol Rains, a waitress, was sued by R.C. Mills, a retired refinery worker who claimed he bought the ticket and gave it to Rains with the agreement they would split the winnings.

Six months after Mills filed the suit, the two agreed to split all the winnings. Each now receives about $322,000 a year.

Earlier this month, however, a Howard County jury was asked to recommend a property settlement in the divorce being sought by Rains and her husband of 17 years, Gregory Turner, who was recently released from prison. The jury recommended that future Lotto payments be divided equally between Rains and Turner.

District Judge Robert Moore III said he instructed the attorneys for the two parties to try to work out a compromise that will not be appealed, and submit it to him for approval. He said Wednesday he understood the attorneys reached an agreement after a five-hour session, but that it has not been presented to him yet.

Other community property besides the annual lottery payment figures into the compromise. If Rains' winnings are split again, her annual check will drop to $161,000, one-fourth of what she originally thought she won.


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