Duplin couple wins $200,000 in lottery

Staff WriterJune 6, 2006 

A couple from Duplin County on Monday collected the largest lottery check in the state since the games began two months ago, winning $200,000 on Saturday's Powerball drawing.

Haywood and LaRue Mercer, who live about five miles north of Beulaville, received about $136,000 after taxes from the lottery win.

They said in a news conference that they were stunned to win and didn't know how they would use the money. It will probably pay off debt on their home and a new car.

"This is something that happens to other people," LaRue Mercer said. "We're not gambling people."

The couple said they have spent about $25 on lottery tickets since the games began March 30.

The winning ticket - which matched five numbers but missed the PowerBall number - was bought with $1 won off a scratch-off ticket, they said.

"That's the way poor folks have to gamble," LaRue Mercer said.

She is a newspaper carrier in Duplin County. Haywood Mercer operates heavy machinery.

Another winning Powerball ticket worth $200,000 was sold in the state on May 30, but no winner of that has come forward.

Staff writer J. Andrew Curliss can be reached at 829-4840 or acurliss@newsobserver.com.

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