CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Months after family members of the man accused of killing Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum said sexual assault was the motive behind the slaying, the sheriff's son says he could call on dozens of former athletes his father coached to testify that his father never did anything inappropriate with them.
E.J. "Bub" Crum, 33, this week spoke out publicly for the first time since his father, who had been sheriff for about three months, was shot and killed on April 3.
The shooting rocked Mingo County, where hundreds of people attended vigils and memorial services for the slain sheriff. Since then, Crum's name has been drawn into the county's political conspiracies, which have brought down the circuit judge, prosecuting attorney and others.
Police believe Tennis Melvin Maynard, 38, of Delbarton, shot Crum as the sheriff sat in his police cruiser in Williamson. Crum was Maynard's boxing coach in the early 1990s, when Maynard was 15.
Although police and prosecutors have never officially released a motive for the shooting, Maynard's brother and father told reporters in August that Crum had sexually assaulted Maynard as a teenager.
E.J. Crum -- then 8 years old -- was in the Delbarton Boxing Club with Maynard. He said he doesn't have any memories of Maynard from that time and doesn't recall his father having any interactions with him either.
Crum said any allegations made by Maynard's father and brother are unfounded because their explanation for the shooting has changed several times.
"They can say anything they want, but they can't put the rest of the story with it," E.J. Crum said. "Anyone that knew my dad knows this isn't true."
Initially after the shooting, Maynard's father told The Associated Press that his son would have shot anybody that day or the first person he came upon. Maynard's mental state changed after he was in an Alabama mining accident in 2007, his father said.
Sheriff Crum loved youth sports and was very active in coaching baseball, basketball and boxing, E.J. Crum said. He said his father was always volunteering in the community and wanted to make a difference in young people's lives.
"I can bring, literally, thousands of guys that I know that I played ball with, boxed with, kickboxed with, football, baseball -- not one of them will have an accusation on my dad of any kind like that," the younger Crum said. "There is not one person, besides Tennis Maynard, who will be able to get up on the stand and say that."
Maynard has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and fleeing. Police said Maynard drove to Delbarton after the shooting and pointed a gun at a Mingo County sheriff's deputy.
Crum said it's unfair that his father's reputation is being destroyed when he's not here to defend himself. Public opinion of his father has shifted since federal authorities launched an investigation into corruption in Mingo County, he said.
"Nobody's perfect," Crum said, "but my dad was a hell of a lot better than any man that held office in Mingo County.,"