Michael Todd Hill is a 52-year-old North Carolina man who has been charged with murder after a 23-year-old woman was found dead in the same hotel room that he had checked into, according to the New York Post.
Hill is also famous for being a big-time lottery winner; in 2017, he won $10 million from a lottery ticket. Various news reports have named the young woman found as Keonna Graham, a correctional officer out of Burgaw, North Carolina.
According to local TV station WWAY-3, police said that Graham and Hill were in an on-again-off-again relationship.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Hill Won the Lottery In 2017
Hill was a nuclear power plant worker married to a woman with an instructional design business, local news station WECT-6 news.
According to the New York Post and WECT-6, Hill purchased an Ultimate Millions ticket from a gas station, the Maco Depot on Maco Road. He claimed his prize in Raleigh at the lottery headquarters and took a lump sum of $6 million, which was roughly $4.1 million after federal tax withholdings, WECT-6 reported.
According to the Post, employees said that Hill always seemed very pleasant and he even returned to the store after he won to give the clerk that sold him a winning ticket $2,000. He told WECT-6 that he was going t pay bills with the money and support his wife’s instructional design business.
2. Keonna Graham Was A Correctional Officer, Loved By Many
The Associated Press reported that Graham lived with her mother, LaTrinda Graham, and her 10-year-old sister, Zoey, in Navassa, North Carolina.
She had once worked with the intellectually disabled at a local rehabilitation center, the New York Post reported; at the time of her murder, she was a corrections officer who worked in Burgaw, North Carolina. Members of her family told the Post that she was a “generous and adventurous woman” whose hobbies included hiking and bike-riding.
Antoinette Lee, Graham’s cousin, said that she and her sister Zoey had “an unbreakable bond.” Tiffany Wilson, who also knew Graham, told WECT-6 that she was loved and beautiful. “It scares me because it’s in my circle that someone knows her and I don’t know him, but it’s in my circle that people know him. And that’s what frightens me.”
3. Hill Checked Into the Hotel Room Where Graham Was Later Found
According to Vee Patel, a hotel manager that spoke with WECT-6, Hill checked into the SureStay hotel Sunday morning, alone and none of the employees saw or heard from him. However, when it was checkout time at 11 and he still hadn’t checked out, she sent a housekeeper to check on the room.
Patel said that the housekeeper knocked multiple times with no response; eventually, the housekeeper went inside and found the young woman who was unconscious. WECT-6 reported that she housekeeper called 911. Patel said that blood was in the room and the housekeeper who discovered Graham was given time off.
Patel told WECT-6 that it was the first time the hotel had ever experienced anything like that. Police have released no information on how they believe Graham was murdered and have said they are waiting on autopsy results.
4. Graham’s Family Members Say They Are ‘Devastated’
Antionette Lee told the New York Post that Graham’s death has brought great suffering to their family. “We are hurting. We are in pain,” she said. “Our family is devastated.”
Valinda White, a friend of Graham’s who met her in high school, told WWAY-3 that she was a joy to know. “She just loved being around people. She had a very kind and just a beautiful spirit all around. You would just have to know her.” Another high school friend told the station the same thing. “She could smile and you’ll start smiling,” Teonna Smith said. “You could be having a bad day and she’ll come up to you. She doesn’t even have to say anything. You just start smiling once you see her.”
Tiffany Wilson also told WECT-6 she is shocked that Hill is the suspect in Graham’s murder and doesn’t understand why he would harm her. “I think it’s horrible,” she said. “I mean, he just won the lottery. I heard he just got married and you go and kill a young girl? A beautiful girl? I don’t understand.”
5. Hill Has Been Charged With Murder
WECT-6 reported that Graham’s body was found July 20, 11:30 a.m. and according to the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office’s records, Hill was arrested by the Shallotte Police Department and taken into custody in Southport on July 21.
Records show that he is being charged with murder and a judge ordered that he be held in Brunswick County Detention Center without bond.
Hill, despite winning over $4 million just three years ago, filed an affidavit of indigency and obtained a court-appointed attorney, according to what District Attorney Jon David told WECT-6.