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Mingo sheriff's alleged killer moved from jail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Mingo County man accused of fatally shooting the county's sheriff last April has been moved from jail a month after a judge delayed his trial following a psychiatric evaluation.

Tennis Melvin Maynard, 34, had been awaiting trial in Western Regional Jail, but was moved to a state-owned psychiatric hospital sometime this week.

Maynard's attorney, Richard Weston, said Friday that he could not discuss the matter.

Last month, Cabell County Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell postponed a murder trial against Maynard that was set to begin this week in Mingo County. The judge did not give a reason for postponing the trial and did not set a new trial date.

Farrell ordered the postponement before a hearing on the results of a psychiatric evaluation requested by Weston.

The judge met with Maynard, Weston and Kanawha County prosecutors, who have been assigned to the case, behind closed doors to discuss the evaluation.

In November, Weston had asked that Dr. Bobby Miller of Huntington evaluate Maynard to determine if he is competent to stand trial for the April 4 slaying of Sheriff Eugene Crum.

According to state law, an inmate may be moved from jail to a state-operated psychiatric hospital if a doctor deems the inmate incompetent.

The State Department of Health and Human Resources operates the William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston -- where Maynard is being held -- to care for patients who are civilly committed or court-ordered to the hospital, according to its website.

The hospital treats patients' psychiatric illness until the patient has gained competency to stand trial and can be returned to the judicial system, according to the website.

In 2010, Maynard checked into at least two psychiatric facilities for unknown reasons. Maynard's brother told the Gazette-Mail that Maynard's mental state changed after a coal mining accident in 2007 in Alabama. Mental trauma from the experience caused Maynard to stay awake for days at a time, his brother said.

Among evidence that prosecutors may present at Maynard's trial are several orders of involuntary hospitalizations from Williamson Memorial Hospital, Logan-Mingo Mental Health Clinic and Highland Hospital in Charleston

Police say Maynard shot Crum with a .40-caliber Glock at close range as Crum sat in his cruiser eating lunch in Williamson on April 3. Maynard fled to Delbarton, where he is from, after the shooting.

Maynard allegedly pointed a gun at Mingo County Sheriff's Deputy Norman Mines. Mines then shot Maynard several times. Besides murder, Maynard is also charged with attempted murder for allegedly pointing the gun at Mines and fleeing the scene.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges during an arraignment hearing last May.

Maynard was indicted by a federal grand jury in June on charges of possession of a firearm by an individual who had been committed to a mental institution and making a false statement in acquisition of a firearm. He also faces charges of illegally possessing a firearm on five occasions.

Federal authorities have said Maynard lied on three gun background check forms about being committed to a mental institution. Maynard was able to buy three guns in 2010 -- including a .40-caliber Glock pistol -- but was denied a gun purchase twice in 2011, after the state began reporting mental health records to the federal government.

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


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