March 19, 2009

R.I.P. - Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton

I first heard about Popcorn Sutton while researching the art of Distillation. I homebrew and although the Federal Government does not make home distillation legal as it does beer and wine making, there are a lot of people out there with an illegal "crab cooker" in their garages. Popcorn was 62 and had been busted for shine many times but this time, they were going to put him in jail for 18 months. He couldn't abide by this, sat in his favorite car and proceeded to kill himself with carbon monoxide. From the Asheville, NC Citizen-Times:
'Popcorn' Sutton dies
Legendary Haywood County moonshiner Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton took his own life because he couldn’t stand the thought of going to prison, his wife said today.

Pam Sutton said she found her husband Monday afternoon dead of carbon monoxide poisoning outside their home in Cocke County, Tenn.

“He got his letter to report Friday, and he just couldn’t handle it,” she said. “We tried everything we could to leave him on house arrest, and they wouldn’t do it. So I thank the federal court for this.
A bit more:
Sutton, 62, spent much of his life making moonshine, a craft that brought him fame and a string of criminal convictions dating back to the 1970s. He was facing 18 months in federal prison on moonshining and weapons charges and had told a judge at his sentencing he was in poor health and would rather die at home than in jail.

Pam Sutton said she went into town to run errands and couldn’t find her husband at their house when she returned. She found him at the rear of their property inside his beloved old Ford Fairlane, which was running, she said.

“He called it his three-jug car because he gave three jugs of liquor for it,” she said. “He had painted it John Deere green and it had yellow wheels. He had drove it to California and back.

“He was a good man, he really was."
Sucker Punch Pictures did a nice documentary a few minutes of which are here:
There is also a book available: "Me and My Likker" Purchasing info is at the Sucker Punch website. A true American -- Popcorn Sutton will be missed...

Posted by DaveH at March 19, 2009 7:55 PM | TrackBack

Thanks so much for posting this!

Posted by: matt at March 20, 2009 2:36 PM