Patricia and Merle Butler.
Patricia and Merle Butler receive their check for $218.6 million at the Red Bud Village Hall.
By Douglas Stanglin, USA TODAY
Red Bud, IL - A retired computer systems designer and his wife, a computer programmer, have claimed the final share of the March 3 $656 million Mega Millions lottery.
Merle, 65, and Pat Butler, 62, claimed their check for $218.6 million, before taxes, at the Red Bud Village Hall in the small southern Illinois town of Red Bud. The winning ticket was sold at a nearby Motomart in the town of 6,000 people.
Merle Butler, a retiree, says he was watching TV when he heard the result of the drawing. He checked each number, then told his wife, Pat, "We won."
"She kind of looked at me funny, and I said, 'no we won,' and she started giggling," he says. "She giggled for about 4 hours, I think" he says.
"We spent the rest of the night going down to our computer to check the news and see how many winners there were," he says.
Butler says the couple has a "real good set of financial advisors," and waited three weeks to step forward in order to get their plans in order first.
"We've been thinking of ways we can invest it," Butler says.
Merle and Pat Butler received a check for $218.6 million. That's before taxes -- 25% federal, 5% state.
It represents one-third of the big Mega Millions jackpot.
The winners of two other tickets -- one in Maryland and one in Kansas -- have already been paid, but the preferred to remain anonymous. Three Maryland public school employees, who dubbed themselves "The Three Amigos," shared one of three winning tickets for the March 3 drawing, but chose to remain anonymous, as did a winner in Kansas.
Lottery rules in Illinois, however, require the winner to be named -- and to appear at a one-time news conference -- to assure other players that prizes are indeed paid out.