By Therese Apel
July 17, 2014
The owner of Graceland Too, a 24-hour Elvis Presley tourist attraction in Holly Springs, who shot and killed a man Tuesday night died just days after the incident, officials said.
Coroner James Anderson said he has not released a cause of death yet, because Paul McLeod, 70, is scheduled for autopsy today.
Holly Springs residents and Graceland Too visitors alike filled social media Thursday morning with posts about McLeod. Some said the death was a heart attack, but Anderson would not confirm that, pending the autopsy.
McLeod attorney Phillip Knect said the death is almost certainly natural causes. He said in a release Thursday that McLeod had been battling bad health for some time.
"We can't be sure of anything right now, but nothing points to suicide or foul play. We await an official autopsy, but his ill health, combined with the stress from Monday's tragedy, lead me to believe it was a very unfortunate natural occurrence," Knect said.
Related: Man shot, killed at Graceland Too by owner
McLeod heard banging at his front door around 11 p.m. Tuesday, Knecht said. When McLeod opened his door, a man broke the glass, forced his way inside and demanded money.
Dwight David Taylor, 28, was shot with a single .45-caliber bullet in the chest, according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
McLeod said in a statement after the shooting that someone has broke the glass of his front door and forced his way in, demanding money, and refusing to leave.
Reportedly, McLeod had filed complaints about Taylor before. Holly Springs police have not returned phone calls for comment.
McLeod, a Detroit-born former prison and auto worker, opened Graceland Too in 1990. Since that time, several national publications have named him the "World's Number One Elvis Fan."
"He was the most wonderful humanitarian I ever heard of, ranked only behind Jesus Christ," MacLeod once said of Presley to FoxNews. "The most generous person I ever saw and the most wonderful entertainer you ever wanted to watch in your life."
McLeod could recount any Elvis trivia, as well, even down to the entertainer's natural hair color. He had a gold Elvis replica suit he wore, and in his stories, his wife allgedly once told him he had to choose between her or Elvis, so he gave her a million dollars in cash and sent her on his way.
The popular tourist attraction, which cost $5 to visit, was filled with Elvis memorabilia. The outside of the home was often painted gaudy colors, and changed colors fairly regularly. At one time it was pink, at one time green, and it was also several different shades of blue. Christmas trees also adorned the building year-round, and the lions out front area always painted to match the house.
"He told me I looked just like his ex-wife, put Elvis's leather jacket on me and hugged me," said Ole Miss graduate Cynthia Smith. "Going to see Graceland Too was a rite of passage at Ole Miss."
It was, in fact, a tradition for Ole Miss students to make the 30-minute drive to Holly Springs to visit Graceland Too at all hours of the night. The museum/shrine was open 24 hours a day. The younger McLeod could remember exact details of every visitor for years after their initial visit.
Knect said McLeod was able to stay up all hours by caffeinating through an extensive supply of Coca-Cola.
"McLeod was known for saying, 'I've only been loved by a few, Elvis was loved by millions,'" Knect wrote in Thursday's release. "However, an explosion of social media posts and cans of Coke left in tribute on his front porch are already telling a different story."
Former Ole Miss students say going to Graceland Too was something they never forgot.
"I remember I didn't even like Elvis that much, and I really didn't know where Holly Springs was at first, but you had to go to Graceland Too," said Kelly Jackson, of Southaven. "I became a lifetime member, and somewhere I've got pictures of me with those lions in front of the house."
Once a person had visited Graceland Too three times, they became a lifetime member, and never had to pay to get in again. Neighbors grew used to seeing the home change colors, and to the traffic on the street, especially on the weekends.
At this point, it is unclear who will be the recipient of McLeod's estate, Knect said, as attorneys are trying to locate his heirs now. McLeod's son, Elvis Aaron McLeod, allegedly moved to New York years ago.
The Holly Springs Police Department said no information could be provided at this time.
The Marshall County Sheriff's Office referred questions to Holly Springs police.
200 E Gholson Avenue.
Holly Springs, MS 38635