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Alleged Mingo sheriff shooter pleads not guilty

Lawrence Pierce
Tennis Melvin Maynard, 37, passes in front of Rosie Crum during his arraignment hearing Wednesday in Cabell County Circuit Court. Maynard is accused of fatally shooting Crum's husband, Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum, on April 3.
Lawrence Pierce Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks talks to Rosie Crum, widow of Mingo Sheriff Eugene Crum, on Wednesday.
Lawrence Pierce Tennis Melvin Maynard, 37, talks to his attorneys, Richard Weston (left) and Glen Conway (right) before his arraignment hearing Wednesday in Cabell County Circuit Court.
Lawrence Pierce Melvin and Leslie Maynard, Tennis Maynard's father and brother, wait to see their relative before Wednesday's arraignment hearing.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- The man accused of killing Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum did not look at Crum's widow when he entered the courtroom Wednesday.

Tennis Melvin Maynard only briefly waved to his brother and father, who he hasn't seen since the shooting on April 3. He stared straight ahead and did not make eye contact with anyone else.

Maynard, 37, was arraigned before Cabell Circuit Judge Paul Farrell on charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and fleeing with reckless indifference. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The judge ordered him held in the Western Regional Jail without bail until then. Farrell also set a tentative trial date of Oct. 21 in Mingo County.

Maynard plans to ask the judge to set bail at a hearing on June 17. On Wednesday, he only spoke to answer yes or no to the judge's questions.

Maynard, who was shot several times by Mingo County Sheriff's Deputy Norman Mines after Crum was shot, appeared before Farrell wearing a hospital gown and hospital-provided slippers.

Rosie Crum, who succeeded her husband as sheriff, sat in the front row with her family. She followed Maynard with her eyes as he passed in front of her. She cried and visibly shook during the hearing.

Williamson Police Chief Dave Rockel sat quietly beside her, and Mines walked her out after the hearing. She declined to talk to reporters.

Melvin and Leslie Maynard, Tennis Maynard's father and brother, sat behind him and edged closer in their seats to get a better look. They told a Gazette reporter that they did not want to talk.

Richard Weston, Maynard's attorney, said after the hearing that he wants to hire an expert before he argues that Maynard's trial should not be held in Mingo County.

"Obviously, I'm sure there's a lot of sentiment against him down there," Weston said, "so we plan to hire an expert in the matter and see what he has to say."

The arraignment was held in Cabell County because Mingo Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury recused himself, citing his friendship with Crum.

Weston told reporters that Maynard is still recovering from seven gunshot wounds and likely would require follow-up medical care in jail.

Mines shot and wounded Maynard after a chase that ended in Delbarton. Maynard had been recovering in Cabell Huntington Hospital since the shooting.

Authorities said Maynard shot Crum twice in the head at close range with a .40-caliber Glock pistol as Crum sat in his car eating lunch in Williamson on April 3.

Maynard also is represented by attorney Glen Conway. Weston said he and Conway only recently spoke to Maynard and wouldn't say what they discussed.

"It's sad that somebody is dead, but I don't know exactly what happened yet," Weston said. "It's too early to get into that."

Maynard belonged to a Mingo County boxing club as a teenager and was coached by Crum. A motive in the slaying has not been released. Authorities have said they don't think the shooting was related to Crum's anti-drug campaign.

Weston told the judge he wants to delay a speedy trial to give the defense and prosecution time to gather evidence. In turn, Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks said he would provide Maynard's attorney with police reports and witness statements, which he said he doesn't normally do.

Weston said he has tried several murder cases, including one that led to a not-guilty verdict and another that led to a plea on a lesser charge.

Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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