The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

June 18, 2013

Mingo sheriff murder suspect denied bail

HUNTINGTON — A West Virginia man accused of gunning down Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum was denied bail Monday prior to his first-degree murder trial, even as defense lawyers questioned whether evidence showed the killing was planned.

Noting that the defense team continued to investigate the case, attorney Richard Weston cited the reported actions of defendant Tennis Melvin Maynard before Crum’s slaying April 3.

“My understanding is that Mr. Maynard did get up and go about his business on the morning of the shooting, to indicate that it was not a premeditated act,” Weston told Circuit Judge Paul Farrell.

Weston said after Monday’s bail hearing that Maynard had gone food shopping at a Wal-Mart, and had groceries with him when he was stopped by law enforcement.

Citing Maynard’s apparent lack of a prior criminal conviction, Weston also argued that the 37-year-old would not be a threat to the public if released.

“One thing that I think is well-known at this point, is that there is some history between the two,” Weston told the judge.

Weston declined to elaborate following the hearing, but did cite media reports that Crum had in the early 1990s coached Maynard, then a teenager, at an after-school boxing program. Weston said the available evidence suggests it wasn’t a random act.

“We’re still investigating everything,” Weston said.

Urging no terms of release, Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks said Maynard acquired several firearms before the slaying even though his mental health condition barred him from buying or having them. Maynard’s father has said his son has psychological issues after he was exposed to harmful chemicals and injured while working at an Alabama coal mine.

Crum was killed while parked in his cruiser, in a spot in downtown Williamson where he frequently had lunch. The sheriff was shot twice in the head at close range, said Sparks, who also cited evidence that Maynard fled the scene and then pulled a gun on a pursuing deputy who shot and wounded the suspect.

“He made threatening gestures toward an eyewitness,” Sparks also told Farrell.

Sparks said Maynard possessed marijuana as well, while noting that his defense team may be unaware of that allegation. A grand jury indicted Maynard on the murder count along with attempted first-degree murder and fleeing.

Pale and with his head shaved, Maynard attended the 10-minute hearing in shackles and holding a sort of catheter bag. Still housed in its medical ward, Maynard will remain at the Western Regional Jail pending his tentative Oct. 21 trial. A special security team from the jail, in body armor and combat-style fatigues, guarded the courtroom during Monday’s hearing.

Crum, 59, had been a longtime community figure and a county magistrate for more than a decade when he stepped down to run for sheriff last year. He made combating the area’s prescription drug abuse crisis a top priority, helping to organize raids even before he took office in January.

Crum’s widow, Rosie, has since been sworn in as interim sheriff pending the 2014 elections. Dressed in civilian clothes, she appeared close to tears throughout Monday’s hearing and declined to comment afterward.


Text Only
Latest News
  • W.Va., 11 other states, ask Supreme Court to declare new EPA rules illegal

    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Friday that West Virginia led a bipartisan group of 12 states that are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to declare illegal a settlement agreement in which the EPA promised to issue its now-pending rule concerning existing coal-fired power plants.

    August 1, 2014

  • Ebola outbreak moving faster than control efforts

    An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned as presidents from the affected countries met Friday in Guinea's capital.

    August 1, 2014

  • Oak Hill man arrested for selling drugs to police officers

    A Fayette County man is in jail after his arrest Thursday evening for several drug offenses, according to a press release from the Fayette County Sheriff's Office.

    August 1, 2014

  • Suspect arrested, faces felony charges following shooting incident

    A Mercer County man was arrested and arraigned on felony charges Thursday after a domestic altercation led to a shooting incident in the Montcalm area of Mercer County.

    August 1, 2014

  • pittsburgh rally 5,000 rally in Pittsburgh against EPA Clean Power Plan

    The echo of people chanting, “Hey, hey, EPA, don’t take our jobs away” could be heard in downtown Pittsburgh Thursday. The voices came from about 5,000 United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) members and their families, along with other unions such as the Boilermakers and the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International (IBEW), marching through the streets.


    August 1, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • Alpha plans to idle coal workers

    Approximately 1,100 employees at 11 Alpha Resources-affiliated surface mines, preparation plants and other support operations in southern West Virginia got notice late Thursday afternoon that their jobs could be in jeopardy.


    August 1, 2014

  • New rules to fight black lung disease kick in today

    Joe Massie has spent the last 22 years of his life fighting a disease that takes his breath away, a disease he contracted deep underground in the coal mines over a period of 30 years.  Black lung may take away his breath; it has not stilled his voice.

    August 1, 2014

  • target red Zero tolerance Target Red campaign hopes to lessen intersection crashes

    It happens every day. A driver hurries on his or her way to work, school or maybe nowhere in particular. Just ahead, a green light turns yellow. With a little more gas, the vehicle just might be able to clear the intersection before that light turns red. Or maybe not. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alpha announces intention to lay off 1,100 surface miners

    The announcement dealt another blow to Appalachia's iconic, but dwindling, fossil fuel industry. The company said 2015 industry forecasts show Central Appalachian coal production will be less than half of its 2009 output. It's due to a combination of familiar factors, Alpha said: competition from cheaper natural gas, weak domestic and international markets and low coal prices.


    July 31, 2014

  • Justice mines have violations in 5 states

    A West Virginia coal billionaire has more than 250 pending violations at mining operations in Kentucky and four other states.

    July 31, 2014