A winning lottery ticket has turned into a family feud for two Cumberland County brothers.
Ira Sharp is suing his half-brother, Charles Meehan, for $500,000, half of the $1 million jackpot.
The two men were drinking and playing scratch-off tickets one day in May 2013, at Johnny Joe’s bar in Mechanicsburg.
Meehan ran out of money, and Sharp passed him $20 to buy another Hot Million ticket. Sharp said he told Meehan if he didn’t take it, Sharp would just buy one himself. That’s a part of story the brothers agree on.
Both took the stand Tuesday at the Cumberland County Courthouse.
Sharp says when he gave Meehan the $20, he said they’d split any winnings. But Meehan says he did not say that. The jury must decide whether it was a verbal agreement – or whether the $20 was just a gift.
“We have the burden of proof,” says R. Mark Thomas, Sharp’s attorney. “We have to prove there was an agreement, and there’s nothing in writing, it’s his word against my client’s word. And if the scales come up evenly balanced, we lose.”
Both men say they celebrated together when Meehan scratched off the winning ticket. Sharp says they decided to bring it in together to the Lottery Commission the next day. Meehan disagrees. He brought it in alone.
Meehan says he called Sharp back the next day and lied, telling him it wasn’t a winning ticket after all. He says he did that because Sharp was angry. Later, Sharp found out it was a winning ticket.
Meehan also offered to pay the $20 back.
The brothers showed little emotion watching each other speak in court. Thomas says it’s hard to imagine they will reconcile.
“I would hope that they could, but it would be difficult,” he says. “…There’s a saying in the Bible that says love of money is the root of all evil.”
The trial will continue Wednesday.