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American Lottery winner accused

of shooting Aussie dead

in row over rent

May 17, 2011 – 12:20PM

A Detroit man facing life in prison for the shooting death of Australian property developer Greg McNicol is a millionaire who pocketed a share of a $US93 million jackpot in a US lottery.

In a bizarre twist to the tragic death of Mr McNicol, Detroit police confirmed on Monday accused killer Freddie Young won a $US1.8 million ($1.7 million) slice of February’s Mega Millions lottery.

Despite the windfall, Young, 62, allegedly shot Mr McNicol with a  Colt .45 pistol during an argument over just a few hundred dollars in overdue rent money that Young’s daughter owed, police say.

“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 Friday and during questioning confessed to the killing, Lieutenant Blackmon said.

Mr McNicol, 45, moved to the US from Victoria about 12 years ago. In February, he bought a rundown 10-unit apartment complex in Detroit.

Tenants praised Mr 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 Mr 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 Mr McNicol in the groin, most likely severing a major artery that led to the victim bleeding to death, Lieutenant Blackmon said.

Young was part of a 13-person syndicate that had one of two winning tickets in the February 4 Mega Millions lottery.

The syndicate chose to take the cash option of just over $US29 million, less taxes, leaving Young with about $US1.8 million.

“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,” Lieutenant Blackmon said.

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 and is due to appear in Detroit’s 36th District Court for a preliminary hearing on May 26.

Detroit, the home of the US car industry, was slammed by the recession. Property prices have plummeted as a quarter of the city’s population left the city the past decade, resulting in thousands of homes being abandoned.

Mr McNicol was one of many investors enticed to buy discounted property in the ailing city and community leaders fear his death 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.”

Mr McNicol’s Brazilian-born wife Katie has vowed to continue the work her husband began at the apartment complex.


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