DETROIT, Mi. — A man who was part of a U.S. Postal Service employees group who won a share of the $93 million Mega Millions Jackpot in February is now accused of killing a Detroit landlord from Australia.
In a bizarre twist to the tragic death of Greg McNicol in Detroit, police said suspect Freddie Young won a $1.8 million slice of $93 million Mega Millions lottery.
Young allegedly shot McNicol during an argument over just a few hundred dollars in overdue rent money Young's daughter owed.
"It didn't make any sense," Lieutenant Dwane Blackmon, commanding officer of the Detroit Police Department's homicide division, said. "I guess he just let his anger take over."
Young did not have a criminal record, but Lieutenant Blackmon said interviews with family members indicated he had a "violent temper".
Young was arrested on Saturday and during questioning confessed to the murder, Lieutenant Blackmon said.
McNicol, 45, moved to the US from Victoria about 12 years ago. In February, he purchased a rundown 10-unit apartment complex in Detroit.
Tenants praised McNicol as he worked hard to renovate the building, transforming it from a "rat trap" to a livable environment, with plans to install picnic benches on an adjacent block of land.
An argument broke out on the front lawn of the premises on May 7 between Young's daughter, who lived in the building, and McNicol, who threatened to evict her for not paying her rent.
It is alleged Young drove up in a car, pulled out the silver Colt .45 and shot McNicol in the groin, likely severing a major artery that led to the Australian bleeding to death, Lieutenant Blackmon said.
Young was part of a 13-person P1 Gold Lottery Club that had one of two winning tickets in the February 4 Mega Millions lottery. In February, Lottery Post reported that the group included 13 postal workers from the priority mail processing center in Romulus.
The members of the lottery pool chose to take the cash option of just over $29 million, less taxes, leaving Young with about $1.8 million.
Ed Moore, a local spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, confirmed Young was a 13-year employee, but didn't have additional information Monday night about whether he was in the lottery club.
Andrea Brancato, a state lottery spokeswoman, said Monday night she could only confirm the name of the winning group, not its individual members.
News of the lottery win surprised residents at McNicol's building. Residents said they were devastated by the loss of the man who had purchased the building, fixed it up and befriended tenants.
Florida Benton said given his reported status as a millionaire and the alleged rent dispute, she questioned the suspect's motives.
"What kind of a man are you?" she asked.
Lieutenant Blackmon added, "You wouldn't think an individual who was pretty much set for his life financially would go over to the apartment complex and do what he did."
Young has been charged with first-degree murder and a felony firearm charge. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
He has been remanded in custody.
Detroit, the home of the US automobile industry, was slammed by the recession, with property prices plummeting as a quarter of the city's population left the city the past decade, resulting in thousands of homes being abandoned.
McNicol was one of many investors enticed to buy discounted property in the ailing city and community leaders fear his murder will turn new investors away.
"By all accounts he was a landlord hoping to have a positive impact in the community," Detroit prosecutor Kym Worthy said.
"This is extremely discouraging and I sincerely hope that this does not have a chilling effect for others who want to do business in the city of Detroit."
McNicol's Brazilian-born wife, Karen, has vowed to continue the work her husband began at the apartment complex.
(Click to display full-size in gallery)
(Click to display in gallery)