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St. Louis family wins $254 million Powerball jackpot

Shirley Wilson, her husband Jim and their three sons, Bill, Jim and Terry, appeared at a Missouri Lottery news conference after winning the Powerball jackpot. (UPI Photo/Bill Greenblatt)

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – A family from south St. Louis County has won $254 million in the multi-state Powerball lottery.

The jackpot is the largest ever won in Missouri, and the seventh biggest since Powerball began.

World War II veteran Jim Wilson II, 84, beat odds of 1 in 146 million when he bought a $5 ticket Wednesday evening.

But Wilson said he and his wife Shirley had not learned they had won until the next morning.

"This was at night time," Wilson said. "[Shirley] said, We'll look at them in the morning and see how we made out.' So that's the way that went."

The Wilsons said they will split the money evenly with their three sons, who are all in their 50s. The money comes at an opportune time for two of the sons, Terry and Bill, who both lost their jobs last year.

Otherwise, the family has not yet decided what to do with the winnings. But they have hired Tom Pilske, an accountant and former IRS attorney.

Powerball winners are not required to make public appearances, but their names are a matter of public record in Missouri.

Pilske said he advised the family to hold a news conference.

"I think the reason was to come out in the open to get it out of the way for their own protection and safety, so that reporters wouldn't follow them day to day and show up out their houses, things like that," Pilske said.

If they decide to take their winnings in a lump sum, the family will get about $120 million. After taxes, that's $85 million

Missouri Lottery spokeswoman Susan Goedde said the advertised jackpot amounts are about twice the actual cash value.

But she said the Wilsons will receive the full $254 million before taxes if they keep their money in the lottery's annuity and receive payments over 30 years.


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