A former History Channel reality TV star who appeared on the show Bamazon about gold miners has been charged with murder after hunters found the body of a man dumped in the woods in rural Alabama.
Matthew Clate McDaniel, 33, of Dadeville, Alabama, was arrested Monday in connection to the slaying of Norman Deon Crayton.
The 40-year-old victim, from Jacksons Gap, Alabama, was discovered with gunshot wounds, according to Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s office.
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Reality star arrested: Matthew Clate McDaniel, left, has been charged with the murder of Norman Deon Crayton, 40, right. McDaniel appeared on the 2012 season of History Channel’s Bamazon
McDaniel, who was a heavy machine operator in the 2012 season of the reality TV show, was in Guyana, South America, with several other unemployed Alabama construction workers on a gold mining expedition.
Sheriff Jimmy Abbett told the Alex City Outlook: ‘On Sunday, January 17, 2016, at approximately 4.43am, 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.
‘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.
‘Further investigation lead to the arrest of McDaniel, McDaniel has been charged with murder and remains in the Tallapoosa County Jail.’
Sheriff Abbett would not discuss a potential motive for the crime, but he said both men knew each other.
It is alleged both men were seen on Saturday night at Colonel Tom’s Tavern outside Dadeville. The pair were playing pool together, according to eyewitnesses.
According to McDaniel’s Facebook profile, he is the owner-operator of Lakeside Excavation and Heavy Equipment operator.
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Adventurer: McDaniel (pictured second from left), who was a heavy machine operator on the reality TV show, was in Guyana, South America, with several other unemployed Alabama construction workers on a gold mining expedition
McDaniel, 33, was arrested after Crayton’s body was recovered by hunters early on Sunday morning
Police said McDaniel, pictured, had been playing pool with Crayton in Colonel Tom’s Tavern on Saturday night
McDaniel, pictured, is being held in the Tallapoosa County Jail until he can post bail of $250,000
He claims to have studied meditation and yoga at the ‘School of Hard Knocks, University of Life’.
According to his biography on the Bamazon website: ‘Clate sees things a little different than the rest of the guys. He’s a brilliant excavator operator, and a jack-of-all trades, but he’s also a yoga-practicing, nature-lover–”a California hippie,” as Tim calls him.
‘Clate’s eccentricities rub the other guys the wrong way, but they tolerate him because he’s so good at what he does. But when his maverick ways lead him to butt heads with bossman Tim Evans, things get explosive.’
McDaniel left the show midway through the first series when the team managed to recover just $17,000 world of gold – split seven ways.
McDaniel was being held Monday in Tallapoosa County Jail on $250,000 bail.
Court documents indicate that McDaniel has a criminal record that includes multiple traffic-related offenses. In 2007, he pleaded guilty to a DUI charge, and the following year he was busted again for driving with a revoked license.
McDaniel returned to Alabama where he founded his company Lakeside Excavation
McDaniel, pictured, was described by fellow stars on the show as a ‘California Hippie’ because he did yoga