Former reality show star McDaniel arrested in Sunday morning murder

Matthew Clate McDaniel, 34, of Dadeville who has been indicted in the murder of Norman Deon Crayton, 40, of Dadeville.

Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said his department is investigating an early Sunday morning homicide.

Abbett said that Matthew Clate McDaniel, 33, of Dadeville is in custody at the Tallapoosa County Jail on murder charges. McDaniel is suspected of shooting Norman Deon Crayton, 40, of Jacksons Gap to death early Sunday morning.

As of Monday, McDaniel remained in custody. A bond has been set at $250,000.

“On Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016 at approximately 4:43 a.m. the department received a call regarding a body being found by hunters in a wooded area off Barron’s Bridge Road located south of Dadeville,” Abbett said in a released statement. “Upon arriving on the scene the body was identified as Norman Deon Crayton, age 40, of Jacksons Gap. The initial investigation revealed the victim has sustained gunshot wounds that caused his death.”

Abbett said the investigation led them to identify McDaniel as a suspect in the shooting death.

“Further investigation lead to the arrest of McDaniel,” Abbett said. “McDaniel has been charged with murder and remains in the Tallapoosa County Jail.”

Abbett did not elaborate on a possible motive or offer any information on events that may have led to the shooting. He did say that the two men did know each other.

Witnesses told the Outlook that the two men were seen at Col. Tom’s Tavern, a club located at 10207 County Road 34 near Dadeville, Saturday night.  Those who were at the club said at one point McDaniel and Crayton were seen playing pool together.

“It’s too early in the investigation to get into any of that,” Abbett said. “You have the basics and we’ll leave it at that.”

McDaniel, the owner of Lakeside Excavation and Materials, is also known for his appearance on the 2012 History Channel reality show “Bamazon.”

The show tracked the trials and tribulations of a group of Americans running a gold mining operation in Guyana.

On the show, McDaniel was a heavy equipment operator whose bio described him as “a brilliant excavator operator, and a jack-of-all trades, but he’s also a yoga-practicing, nature-lover and a California hippie.”

A search of court records shows that McDaniel does have multiple arrests, mostly for traffic related offenses. Records show that McDaniel did enter guilty pleas on a 2007 driving under the influence charge, a 2008 driving with a revoked license infraction and a 2001 attempting to elude police arrest.