PERRY -- Closing arguments are expected Thursday morning in a civil dispute about the ownership of a $750,000 lottery ticket purchased in Warner Robins in 2010.
The dispute is between Jose Antonio Tony Cua-Toc, 27, a native of Guatemala who entered the country illegally in 2000, and Erick Cervantes, a Fort Valley business owner who claimed the winning Jingle Jumbo Bucks lottery ticket from Georgia lottery officials.
Cua-Toc, who worked as a day laborer for Cervantes, filed the lawsuit against Erick Cervantes and Sonia Cervantes, who were married at the time.
Cua-Toc purchased the winning ticket Nov. 17, 2010, from the OM Food Mart at 700 Feagin Mill Road in Warner Robins. But because Cua-Toc was undocumented, he alleges that Erick Cervantes claimed the winnings on Cua-Tocs behalf but then kept the money. However, Cervantes claims he is the rightful owner of the ticket, having given Cua-Toc $20 to purchase the ticket for him.
Erick Cervantes, 32, who owns Elite Power Washing and Maintenance in Fort Valley, testified Wednesday that he gave a broke Cua-Toc some money to buy beer and cigarettes at Cua-Tocs request and also gave him cash to purchase a lottery ticket for Cervantes.
Cervantes used the analogy of asking someone to buy him a soft drink.
I give somebody a dollar to buy me a Coke. They come back with that Coke. That Coke is mine, Cervantes told jurors.
Sonia Cervantes, 31, a civilian contracting officer for a U.S. Air Force Base in Florida, testified that her 13-year marriage to Erick Cervantes could not withstand the stress of death threats allegedly made against their family by Cua-Toc and all the media coverage.
Sonia Cervantes lives in Tampa, Fla., with the couples three children, ages 12, 10 and 5.
Erick Cervantes and Sonia Cervantes filed a counter claim against Cua-Toc that seeks damages to be determined by the jury to be awarded based on the infliction of emotional distress from the alleged threats by Cua-Toc.
Cua-Toc denied in earlier testimony making the threats. The threats were not made directly to Erick or Sonia Cervantes but to others who told them of the threats, according to testimony.
Rafael Cervantes, the father of Erick Cervantes, testified that Cua-Toc called him and told him he had cousins in North Carolina who could harm his son if his son didnt give him some money.
He also told jurors that Cua-Toc sounded drunk, and he did not answer additional calls from Cua-Toc.
Carlos Lizotte, a Macon State College student, testified that Cua-Toc called him and told him to tell his then-brother-in-law Erick Cervantes to give me some money.
Lizotte testified that Cua-Toc told him in Spanish that, I can break you and Erick.
Lizotte told jurors the Spanish words used by Cua-Toc to make that statement sounded like a death threat to me.
Lizotte also testified that $1,500 was given to him by Erick and Sonia Cervantes as a wedding gift.
Abroco Sanchez, who used to play soccer with Cua-Toc, testified that he saw Cua-Toc driving a truck owned by Erick Cervantes the Friday after the lottery ticket was purchased. Sanchez testified that Cua-Toc told him, Erick just won the lottery. He gave me some money.
Cua-Toc also told him Cervantes may let him keep the truck and described him as his lucky charm, Sanchez testified.
Sanchez also testified that about that time, Erick and Sonia Cervantes gave him $800 as a Christmas gift.
The trial moves into its fourth day Thursday before Judge George F. Nunn. Jury deliberations are expected to begin sometime Thursday -- possibly even before lunch, Nunn told jurors from the bench Wednesday afternoon.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.