CLEVELAND (AP) – A woman who told police she bought and lost a lottery ticket worth $162 million all but admitted Thursday she made it up, saying tearfully: “I wanted to win so bad for my kids and my family. I apologize.”

Elecia Battle, 40, said she is dropping her lawsuit over the Mega Millions jackpot that was awarded Tuesday to 34-year-old Rebecca Jemison.

Battle apologized to her husband, Jemison and her lawyer.

“I’m not a bad person. I’m really not,” she said. “Everyone has a past.”

Days after the Dec. 30 drawing, Battle filed a police report saying she lost the winning ticket, possibly when she dropped her purse outside a convenience store.

Police in suburban South Euclid, where the winning ticket was sold, said Battle will probably be charged with filing a false police report – a misdemeanor punishable by 30 days to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.

“I think what she’s saying is what everybody else is inferring – that she’s lying,” Lt. Kevin Nietert said.

Battle said she wanted to use the money to help her family and recently laid-off Cleveland police officers. “I wanted to win,” she said with a shaky voice. “The numbers were so overwhelming. I did buy a ticket and I lost it. I wanted to win so bad for my kids and my family. I apologize.”

When she was asked directly if she lied, Battle’s lawyer, Sheldon Starke, refused to let her answer.

The Ohio Lottery said it knew the truth all along. Jemison provided another ticket bought at the same time and place and had a ticket that showed she had played the same numbers in the prior drawing, the lottery said.

Battle has a criminal record that includes assault on a drug store clerk and misuse of another person’s credit card.



On the Net:

http://www.megamillions.com

AP-ES-01-08-04 1615EST



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.