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When Money Grew on Trees: The True Tale of a Marijuana Moonshiner and the Outlaw Sheriff of Madison County, Arkansas Paperback – May 19, 2003
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About the Author
David Mac, a native of the great state of Michigan, now lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas where he raises his two teenage children and tries to remain true to his self imposed retirement from his outlaw profession. A causality of the Drug War, Mac no longer votes, owns a firearm, posses a passport nor travels into Canada for his once loved fishing trips. He also holds scant hope of ever running for political office. Although he sold out much of his honor, he still maintains a little pride. But, such is the life of an outlaw. Mac does spin a fair yarn though, and this is his first published work. Barring a cosmic phenomena, this will also be his last.
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Its very long, some depth to it, I would have liked more information on the places and people in it. This book is not for everyone.
I was employed by a local law enforcement agency in Northwest Arkansas for 25 years (1975 – 1998). After retirement I had several short term jobs and then I was a Federal Court Security Officer for eleven years. I was on duty when I heard about David McElyea’s death. The news media reported that McElyea had “slit his own throat” after being caught shoplifting at a Wal-Mart in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Local Author Commits Suicide In Wal-Mart
UPDATED 9:59 AM CDT Apr 23, 2009
“FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas —David Mac’s book caused controversy, and now his death is causing even more.
Police said local author David McElyea slit his own throat Wednesday night while in the Wal-Mart on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Fayetteville.
McElyea wrote the book "When Money Grew On Trees" about the life and death of former Madison County Sheriff Ralph Baker. The book was enough to give McElyea a degree of notoriety in Madison County.
McElyea did have a history of problems with the law. In his book he talks about being involved in alleged marijuana-growing operations under Baker, and current Madison County Sheriff Philip Morgan said McElyea found himself in the county jail several times.
Wednesday night Fayetteville police were called to the Wal-Mart after McElyea was allegedly caught shoplifting. Before police could arrive, they said he used a knife to slit his throat and then continued stabbing himself. When police found McElyea, they said they had to handcuff him to keep him from continuing to stab himself.
McElyea died shortly after being taken to Washington Regional Medical Center.”
One day in 2015 I was at a Chiropractic office in Rogers when a retired Arkansas Parole Officer, whom I have known for many years, came in. At that time we were both retired. The Parole Officer had been McElyea's Parole Officer. I mentioned the book. He told me that McElyea had been on Parole at the time of the incident. This meant that the Shoplifting incident would have caused his Parole to be revoked and McElyea would have been sent back to prison. He told me that he had viewed the security tape recorded after McElyea was caught and placed in the Wal-Mart Loss Prevention Office.
Wal-Mart security had taken McElyea's pocket knife (the retired Parole Officer said that it looked like a Swiss Army Knife) and placed it in a bowl on the table in front of McElyea. At some point McElyea was left alone and unsecured in the Loss Prevention Office. The Parole Officer said that he saw (via the recording) McElyea feeling his neck. Then McElyea grabbed the knife, plunged the blade into his throat, and made one deep cut across his throat where he had been feeling. That cut resulted in McElyea's death which occurred soon after the cut was made.
As an old geezer and lifetime law enforcement officer who was born, raised, and stayed in these here hills (Northwest Arkansas) I sometimes think that I have "seen it all". Well, every now and then I am “slapped in the face”, so to speak, with something new which leaves me astonished, amazed, and temporarily speechless. Such an incident occurred one morning in 2016 as I was going through my facebook page.
I saw deceased former-Sheriff Ralph Baker's widow presenting a youth with a scholarship. All you local “old law dogs”, log onto and peruse the "Sheriff Ralph Baker Memorial Scholarship" Page. Then, to refresh your memory, get onto Amazon and purchase a copy of "When Money Grew on Trees" by Baker's deceased former longtime associate and partner, David Mac. I won't say that this is Holy Gospel, but it is closer than anything else you are apt to find in print.
I will be laughing and shaking my head in amazement about this for a long time! Baker’s widow and friends seem determined to “rehabilitate” him in the public mind, if not to actually “rewrite history”. I strongly recommend “When Money Grew on Trees”.