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Powerball winner from Marshall has 'a weight lifted' by winnings

Friday, April 23, 2010 | 10:41 a.m. CDT; updated 11:14 a.m. CDT, Friday, April 23, 2010

JEFFERSON CITY — A Missouri man who won a $258 million Powerball jackpot says he hasn't decided yet if he'll quit his job at the convenience store where he bought his winning ticket. He plans to use some of the money to pay bills and take his children to Disney World.

Chris Shaw,a 29-year-old father of three who was raised by his grandparents in rural southern Missouri, came forward as the winner of the 10th-largest Powerball jackpot ever on Thursday. Shaw said he had just $28.96 in his bank account and recently bought a used pickup truck from a friend who agreed to let him pay off the $1,000 price $100 at a time. Now, he said, he no longer has to worry about how he'll pay his friend — or his utility bills.

"We didn't come from money. For us it's just going to be a huge relief to know I'm going to be able to pay my electric bill, my gas bill," Shaw told the Associated Press. "It's like a weight lifted. I had bills at home I didn't know how they were going to be paid."

Shaw said he bought the $5 ticket Wednesday at the Break Time convenience store where he works in Marshall, about 60 miles west of Columbia. He accepted his ceremonial check at the Missouri Lottery headquarters in Jefferson City wearing a tan and red plaid shirt, a red hat and a huge grin — minus two front teeth. He says he lost the teeth because he didn't take care of them but can now afford to have them replaced.

"I'm just a regular guy working paycheck to paycheck ... well, not any more," he said.

Shaw said he needed a few days to decide if he will keep his minimum-wage job at the convenience store, where he has worked for just three weeks. He also plans to seek advice "from people who know about money" about whether to take the jackpot in 30 payments over 29 years or the lump-sum amount of $124,875,122.

His boss, Jackie Maxwell, general manager of the Missouri-based Break Time convenience store chain, was thrilled to hear Shaw had won.

"He's just a great guy, a good employee. When you think of a large winner like this, everyone likes to see that the person who won is somebody like Chris," she said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Shaw — who has a 10-year-old son, a 7-year-old girl and a 5-year-old girl — said he had played Missouri Scratchers lottery tickets before, winning at most $80. He checked his Powerball ticket against the state lottery's website only after his girlfriend, Tosha Ewry, told him the winning ticket was bought at the store where he works.

When Shaw called Ewry back to tell her the news, she thought he was joking, he said. Shaw told her: "I swear on a stack of Bibles, you need to leave work and come home."

Shaw said he looks forward to spending more time with his kids, who live with their mothers about 240 miles southeast of him in his hometown of Alton, Mo., as well as with his girlfriend's two sons — 13-year-old and 15-year-old boys Shaw says he considers his own.

"I can be with them as much as I want now," Shaw said.

He said his children already have been asking for new skateboards, bicycles and "just stuff that's really hard to do when you make $7.25 an hour."

Break Time will receive $50,000 for selling the winning ticket. If Shaw takes a lump-sum payment, the state income taxes due on the winnings would be about $6 million, state budget director Linda Luebbering said.

 


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