Michael Todd Hill is the suspect in the killing of Keonna Graham

By Jeff Truesdell
July 23, 2020 06:13 PM
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Keonna Graham
Keonna Graham
| Credit: Courtesy Antionette Lee via AP

The winner of a $10 million North Carolina lottery prize is in jail and charged with murder in connection with the death of a woman found dead in a hotel room.

The victim, 23-year-old Keonna Graham, was discovered deceased about 11:30 a.m. Monday in a room of the SureStay Hotel in small-town Shallotte, N.C., said police.

In the early hours Tuesday, authorities arrested Michael Todd Hill, 52, about 35 miles away in Southport, on the murder charge, according to a police news release.

Police released no other details of the alleged crime.

In 2017, Hill celebrated his lottery win after buying an Ultimate Millions scratch-off ticket at the Maco Depot convenience store, where a clerk said Hill was a regular customer who gave her $2,000 as a thank you, reports Wilmington TV station WECT.

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A hotel manager, Vee Patel, said Hill checked into the hotel alone on Sunday, and that no hotel employees reported seeing the victim, according to WECT. After Hill's 11 a.m. Monday checkout time had passed, a housekeeper who received no response after several knocks entered the room and saw the victim unconscious.

Hotel staff found blood in the room and called 911, Patel said.

Michael Todd Hill
Michael Todd Hill
| Credit: AP/Shutterstock

Graham lived about 45 miles away from Shallotte in Navassa, N.C., with her mother and a 10-year-old sister, Zoey, with whom she had an “unbreakable bond,” said a cousin, Antionette Lee, reports the AP.

Graham was employed as a correctional officer at a prison in Burgaw, North Carolina, and previously worked in a program for people with intellectual disabilities, said Lee.

“We are hurting. We are in pain,” said Lee. “Our family is devastated.”

Hill declared indigency and will be represented by a court-appointed attorney who was not immediately identified, said District Attorney Jon David, reports WECT.

He was booked into the Brunswick County Detention Center and is being held without bond.