CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Mingo County Prosecutor C. Michael Sparks says there's no evidence showing the slaying of Sheriff Eugene Crum was in retaliation for his stance against prescription pill abuse.
Sparks said in a statement Saturday that there is "rampant speculation and conjecture" surrounding what led a 37-year-old Ragland man to allegedly shoot Crum in downtown Williamson last week.
"I respectfully request that the public refrain from engaging in unfounded speculation and conjecture regarding Sheriff Crum's murder," the statement said. "Now is the time to grieve, cherish memories and celebrate an admirable life of public service."
The West Virginia State Police and the Williamson Police Department are leading the investigation, he said.
"Rest assured, we are committed to conducting due diligence, completing a thorough criminal investigation and achieving justice," Sparks said.
Crum's funeral is Sunday, four days after the 59-year-old sheriff was shot to death in a downtown Williamson parking lot where he ate his lunch each day.
Police said Tennis Melvin Maynard walked behind Crum's SUV parked along Third Avenue and fired two shots. Crum was pronounced dead at the scene.
Maynard's father, Melvin Maynard, told the Associated Press last week that his son was exposed to harmful chemicals and was injured while working at an Alabama coal mine in 2007. His son was mentally disturbed and had no particular vendetta with law enforcement, he said.
Crum is remembered for making good on his campaign promise to rid the county of prescription pill abuse. Authorities said he had parked his car near a shuttered pill mill watching for drug activity prior to the shooting.
Tennis Maynard was shot and wounded by a Mingo deputy in a chase following the attack on Crum. State Police say he crashed his car into a bridge in his hometown of Delbarton, then got out and pointed a weapon at the deputy, who fired in self-defense.
Maynard remained in critical, but stable condition at Cabell-Huntington Hospital on Saturday.
Williamson Police have charged Maynard with first-degree murder and State Police have charged him with attempted murder for allegedly pulling the gun on the deputy. A .40 caliber Glock handgun is believed to be the weapon used on Crum.Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.