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Late sheriff's widow, daughter deny allegations

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Speaking through tears, the widow of slain Mingo County sheriff Eugene Crum said Thursday that allegations against her husband are nothing but lies.

"My husband's not here to defend himself. How dare they do this," Crum said in a telephone interview with the Gazette Thursday afternoon.

Earlier Thursday, Eugene Crum was implicated by federal prosecutors in the latest charges against Mingo Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury. The court filing contained allegations that Crum took prescription pills from a convicted drug dealer, and then tried to keep the man from telling federal agents about it.

Crum also allegedly arrested the drug dealer, George White, rather than paying him $3,000 for signs for Crum's campaign for sheriff.

"It's sad, because everything my husband has fought for for this county has went down the drain and they are dragging him through the mud and none of it's true," Rosie Crum said. "I will stand behind my man until the day I die because I loved him."

Crum, who prosecutors describe in Thursday's filing as "a close associate and political ally" of Thornsbury's, was shot to death April 3 as the sheriff sat in his police cruiser in downtown Williamson.

Tennis Maynard, 37, of Delbarton, faces murder charges in Crum's slaying.

Rosie Crum said she has proof that her husband paid White the $3,000 federal prosecutors say Crum owed for the campaign materials. "I have the check right here," she said.

And Eugene Crum's autopsy report proves he was not a drug addict, according to Julie Hall. She is the daughter of Rosie and Eugene Crum, and lives in Indiana.

"We can't release that, because it's evidence for trial. That's the first thing I wanted to do," Hall, 37, told the Gazette. "It didn't show any type of illegal drugs nor any type of narcotic pain medications."

Hall said she wished she was with her mother Thursday. Neither could believe the allegations, and both believe Thornsbury and others are trying to deflect guilt from themselves onto a dead man who can't speak for himself.

"It almost hurts as bad as the murder itself," Hall said. "It's absolutely heartbreaking."

"At first we didn't want to make a statement. Our biggest thing is jeopardizing dad's trial and that's what we worry about, but it's to the point where we have to say something to defend him.

"If it was one of us, my dad would be ..." Hall started, then paused and laughed slightly. "He would be screaming it from the rooftops for us."

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.


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