Drawing Fire : Woman Is Charged With Shooting Husband Over Mistakes in Entry Form for Publisher’s $10-Million Contest


Patrice Lavann Haslip had yearned for a visit from the “prize patrol.” Instead, she was hauled off in handcuffs in a sheriff’s black-and-white.

And rather than becoming the latest $10-million grand prize winner, she could receive more than 10 years in state prison.

Patrice Haslip, 34, was arraigned Thursday on charges of shooting her husband in the head during an argument that erupted after he made a mistake on their entry to become multimillionaires in an upcoming publisher’s contest.

The South-Central Los Angeles resident pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles Municipal Court on Thursday to charges of assault with a deadly weapon, use of a gun and inflicting great bodily injury on John Haslip, 36, her husband of four years.


Patrice Haslip is being held in Los Angeles County Jail on $60,000 bail.

John Haslip was lucky, authorities said. The bullet grazed his head and he was released from the hospital Wednesday, a day after the shooting.

“A little lower it would have hit his eye,” Sheriff’s Detective Joe Martinez said. “He’s OK, he’s just got a permanent part in his hair.”

In the last month, Americans have been inundated with contest entry forms from Publishers Clearing House and American Family Publisher sweepstakes. In the case of Publishers Clearing House, the “prize patrol” will deliver flowers, champagne, chocolate and the first giant check at the grand prize winner’s home or office.


When John Haslip made a mistake on the couple’s entry form, Patrice Haslip stormed out of the room, authorities said.

“He started filling it out,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Savitt said. “He asked her for some help. He made some errors filling it out.”

Upon her return, Patrice Haslip became even more furious after discovering that her frustrated husband had tossed out the form, thereby “jeopardizing her chance to be on national TV,” Savitt said.

In the midst of the argument, John Haslip struck his wife in the nose, authorities said.

“She is angered and gets a gun,” Savitt said. “He runs into the bathroom holding the door closed. She fires through the bathroom door, dead center, 5 foot, 6 inches high.”

Municipal Judge Bruce F. Marrs set a preliminary hearing for Jan. 11--which is 17 days before the grand prize drawing in the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes and 20 days before the grand prize drawing in the American Family Publishers sweepstakes.

Authorities said Thursday that it was unclear which of the two $10-million grand prize sweepstakes the couple had quarreled over. “Part of the problem is he threw (the entry form) out,” Savitt said.

David Sayer, head of publicity and executive director of the Publishers Clearing House prize patrol, said Thursday that because of the volume of entries mailed out, it would be difficult to determine whether the incident had involved his firm’s contest--"the granddaddy of the sweepstakes,” as he put it--or the American Family contest, whose pitchman is Ed McMahon.


Sayer said he had no knowledge of previous violence as a result of the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes.

“Of course I see people under the best of conditions,” Sayer said. “But there’s never any violence. We’re waging an anti-violence campaign.”

A spokesman for American Family did not return calls for comment Thursday.

While Patrice Haslip awaits her court hearing in jail, her husband has moved out of their home, at least temporarily.

According to a sheriff’s report, John Haslip “still has mixed feelings about being shot by his wife because he could have been killed. He has not had time to reflect on anything.”