Lotto winner killed by husband in murder suicide, police say

Family say 31-year-old wanted to get away from husband before fatal incident

Gino Spocchia
Tuesday 10 August 2021 20:48
<p>A crime scene</p>

A crime scene

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A Californian woman who won more than $2 million (£1.4 million) in a lottery last year has reportedly been murdered by her husband in Oklahoma along with her young daughter.

Tiffani Hill, aged 31, was with her one-year-old daughter Leanne when her husband, 42-year-old John Donato, fired at her and Leanne on 30 July. He afterwards shot and killed himself.

Calera Police, the FBI and Choctaw Tribal Police were called to the address in Calera — a town 10 miles north of the Oklahoma-Texas state line — to find Ms Hill and Mr Donato both dead.

Leanne, who was critically injured, was airlifted to a hospital in Dallas, Texas, where she remained for the weekend. The FBI told a local news outlet, News 12, that she had died three days later, on 2 August.

The federal agency took on the investigation into the deaths because it involved at least one member of an Oklahoma tribe. It was not clear, according to reports, which of Ms Hill and Ms Donato that was.

The couple reportedly married a few months after Ms Hill won $2 million in a lottery in November 2020, when she lived in California. The family moved to Calera, Oklahoma, not longer after.

Relatives of Ms Hill have alleged that she “was trying to get away from” living with Mr Donato, who they accused of domestic abuse, a former attorney for Ms Hill’s family, Theresa McGehee, told News 12.

“We’ll never have any way of knowing. But I do know there were times it caused conflict between them,” said Ms McGehee. “Statistically that is the most dangerous time for anyone involved in domestic violence is around that time of separation”.

Her family have set-up a GoFundMe to raise funds for the funeral of Ms Hill and Leanne, and for the relocation of the couple’s three remaining children, who were unharmed in the 30 July shooting.

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