CHARLESTON - The Kanawha County Prosecutor who was named to replace former Mingo County Prosecutor C. Michael Sparks in the murder trial of Tennis Melvin Maynard, the defendant accused of fatally shooting the late Sheriff Eugene Crum, has requested additional time to review and prepare the case before it goes to trial.
The first-degree murder trial for Maynard, 38 of Ragland, has been rescheduled from December 9 of this year to March 3, 2014. A pretrial motion hearing that was scheduled to take place on Tuesday has also been rescheduled for November 6.
Maynard stands accused of first degree murder, fleeing and attempted murder in the slaying of Crum as he was sitting in his official vehicle in a parking lot in Williamson on April 3 eating lunch. The sheriff was shot at point-blank range in the head. Maynard fled the scene of the shooting and was in the process of traveling toward his home when he was cornered by Mingo County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) Corporal Norman Mines, who fired on the defendant after Maynard reportedly aimed a gun toward him. Maynard spent approximately 6 weeks in the Cabell Huntington Hospital recovering from 5 gunshot wounds, and has remained held in jail without bond since his release from the hospital. Mines was not injured during the incident.
Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants told Cabell County Circuit Judge Paul Ferrell, who will preside over the murder trial in Williamson, that he needed more time to review evidence and interview witnesses. Maynard’s defense attorney, Richard Weston, had no objections to the trial date being changed.
The high-profile case has recently been overshadowed by investigations and indictments of numerous Mingo County politicians, which is still ongoing,
No concrete evidence has been released thus far concerning Maynard’s true motive for the slaying of Crum, although allegations made by his father and brother accuse Crum of sexually assaulting Maynard when he was a teenager. Rumors have also ran rampant throughout the Tug Valley area that he was shot because of the great number of drug arrests he had completed since taking office, while others lean toward a “murder for hire” theory.
One thing for certain is that when the trial does begin, all eyes will be on Mingo County as Crum’s family and friends attempt to have closure in his death, and hear the truth as to why he life was taken.