Lottery Winner of $1M in South Philadelphia Murdered, Police Probing Case

Posted on: May 9, 2022, 10:57h. 

Last updated on: May 10, 2022, 12:09h.

A man found brutally murdered in South Philadelphia may have won $1 million on the lottery before he was killed, according to local radio station KYW.

Francis Decero
The last sighting of Francis Decero on security video, around midnight, April 26. He left his jeep double-parked before getting into an unknown vehicle, which then drove away from the area. (Image: FOX29)

Francis Decero, 25, had been missing since April 26. His body was found in bushes on a quiet suburban street. He had been burned, stabbed, and shot.

KYW previously reported that a man named “Francis D” recently won $1 million on an “Extreme Green” scratch-off ticket. The ticket was sold at a store about a mile from Decero’s home, according to Pennsylvania Lottery records. Decero was known to be an avid lottery player, according to local reports. It’s not clear whether his possible lottery win is linked to his death.

The Philadelphia Police Department has opened a homicide investigation and is working to determine whether he was tortured before he was killed.

If Decero did win the lottery, he did not inform his family about his win, relatives said. Philly police told The US Sun that they could neither confirm nor deny Decero’s reputed win.

Homicide Investigation

Decero was officially reported missing by his family last Monday. Family members who went to look for him found his car double-parked in the area of 13th and Bigler streets, according to KYW.

Police are now examining the security video that showed Decero driving up, exiting his car, and getting into another vehicle that then left the area.

“I just hope they find who did this, this is what I want to know. Everybody loved that kid,” the victim’s father, Lou Decero, told the CBS News Philadelphia. “I have to know who did this, there was no reason. I don’t know who would [have] done this, I hope they find him,” he said.

Danger Money

Lottery winners are often targeted by criminals and have in the past been murdered.

In 2016, Craigory Burch Jr, a forklift truck driver from Georgia, was shot dead during a home invasion two months after winning a $434,272 jackpot. Burch was killed in front of his wife and two young children after masked robbers demanded his bank card, which Burch could not locate.

Seven men were later charged with his murder.

Burch had used some of his lottery win to buy gifts for the neighborhood children. Prosecutors said the defendants had interpreted his generosity as “flexing” and “showing off.”

In 2006, Florida laborer Abraham Shakespeare won $31 million in the lottery. He wound up dead under a concrete slab three years later, murdered by a woman who had befriended him for his money. His killer, Dorice “Dee Dee” Moore, 49, recently told CBS from prison that she backed a bill that would guarantee anonymity for Florida lottery winners.

“It puts a target” on them, she explained.