Murder and a Mysterious Death at an Elvis Museum

Paul MacLeod at his Graceland Too Elvis museum. Photo: Rogelio V. Solis, courtesy AP Photo.
Paul MacLeod at his Graceland Too Elvis museum. Photo: Rogelio V. Solis, courtesy AP Photo.

Graceland Too, a small museum housed in Paul MacLeod’s Holly Springs, Mississippi, home, was an unlikely tourist attraction, notable less for its collection of Elvis Presley memorabilia than for its larger-than-life proprietor—until it became a crime scene.

Within the span of two days, two men died on the premises.

Elvis enthusiast MacLeod was well-known as an eccentric character long before the events of July 2014, where he shot and killed Dwight Taylor, a young black man, only to die himself just two days later.

“Paul openly referred to women and black people in derogatory terms,” Brandon Harris writes in a recent article for Guardian, an abridged version of an n+1 article that details the mystery surrounding the two deaths.

Paul MacLeod's Graceland Too Elvis museum.  Photo: Rogelio V. Solis, courtesy AP Photo.

Paul MacLeod’s Graceland Too Elvis museum.
Photo: Rogelio V. Solis, courtesy AP Photo.

A gun-enthusiast reported to drink 24 Cokes a day, MacLeod had often employed Taylor, who was homeless, for odd jobs, such as painting his house. Payment, however, was generally made in the form of soda and beer.

No one knows why Taylor went over to MacLeod’s house on this past July 15, it was to collect on back wages he was owed. In any event, MacLeod wouldn’t let him in, and there may have been a struggle.

What is known is that Taylor was shot and killed, and that MacLeod was never charged for the shooting. Two days later MacLeod was found dead on his porch, apparently of natural causes.

Paul MacLeod's Graceland Too Elvis museum.  Photo: Rogelio V. Solis, courtesy AP Photo.

Paul MacLeod’s Graceland Too Elvis museum.
Photo: Rogelio V. Solis, courtesy AP Photo.

“Me, Paul, and Dwight, we was like this,” Taylor’s wife Cindi told Harris in n+ 1 magazine, bringing her hands together to demonstrate the trio’s bond. “He was a funny guy, but he was crazy too, but he was a good person, Paul. I lost two people. We developed a friendship that nobody knew about, for real.”

In the months leading up to the fatal altercation, however, Cindi had filed domestic violence charges against her husband, and the two had separated. Despite the couple’s issues, her grief remains unabated.

Graceland Too’s collection went up for auction in February, and was purchased by an online bidder for $54,500. When the buyer realized MacLeod’s home was not included in the sale, the bid was retracted. A second auction was held in May, which contained over 400 lots, but a sales total has not been released.

On August 13, Invaluable auction house will offer 174 Elvis artifacts, including a “Starbust” jumpsuit Elvis wore in 1973, and a 14-karat gold pinky ring allegedly worn by the King, making it “the largest and most comprehensive auction yet held on the grounds of Graceland,” according to the press release. However, none of the items are from the official Graceland Archives.

As for the strange timing of MacLeod’s death, Cindi has her own theory. “It killed Paul. Reality set in that he killed his friend, Dwight D. Eisenhower. He had nicknames for both of us. He called me C. C. Rider,” she said tearfully. “There is more to this story than people will ever know.”


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