Half brothers fight over lottery winnings in Pennsylvania court

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 15, 2014 4:21 PM

By David DeKok

CARLISLE Pa. (Reuters) - Two estranged half brothers faced off on Tuesday in a Pennsylvania court in a fight over a winning million-dollar lottery ticket.

Ira Sharp claims he gave his half brother Charles Meehan $20 to buy a Hot Million instant ticket in Johnny Joe's sports bar and they agreed to split any winnings, Sharp's attorney R. Mark Thomas said in the Cumberland County Court of Pleas.

The ticket was a winner, but Meehan tried to hide it and keep all of the money, the attorney said.

The two men, who both live in Mechanicsburg and no longer speak to one another, are fighting it out before a jury and Judge Christylee Peck.

Meehan in effect agreed to give half the winnings to his half brother by accepting the $20, Thomas said in his opening statement.

“When Mr. Meehan played that $20 and won, he owed him half," he said.

Douglas Miller, Meehan’s lawyer, did not dispute the facts of the case but told the jury that Sharp never conditioned the gift of the $20 on splitting the winnings.

"Mr. Meehan wanted to help his half brother, to give him some of the winnings,” the lawyer said. “But not because he was contractually obligated to.”

However, he said, Meehan no longer “has any desire to help his brother."

The jury trial was expected to conclude on Wednesday.

(Reporting by David DeKok; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Eric Beech)