Accusations against slain sheriff may be factor at trial

By Debbie Rolen

August 20, 2013

Rachel Baldwin

Staff Writer

CHARLESTON - Although a possible connection between the fatal shooting of former Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum and allegations of rape that occurred in 2002 has yet to be revealed, a West Virginia State Police (WVSP) criminal complaint taken from a woman who claimed to be the victim of rape at the hands of Crum is identified as part of the murder case discovery in the State of W.Va. vs. Tennis Melvin Maynard.

Maynard is accused of shooting and killing Crum on April 3, 2013, as the sheriff sat in his official vehicle eating lunch at a city parking lot located at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Harvey Street.

Maynard allegedly fled the scene and was shot after he was forced into the side of a concrete bridge in Delbarton by Mingo County Sheriff’s Corporal Norman Mines. He was critically injured but survived the shooting and has been jailed since his release from the Cabell Huntington Hospital.

The official police report of the rape was identified as one of the items in the discovery submitted by the prosecution and according to Maynard’s defense attorney Richard Weston, the allegations never became an arrestable offense due to the WVSP concluding that the sex between Crum and the woman was consensual, is right in line with his planned line of defense. He refused to elaborate on the report due to client confidentiality.

“When preparing for a trial of this magnitude, everything that is disclosed in the discovery will not be presented, whether favorable or unfavorable in content,” remarked C. Michael Sparks. “It is imperative, however, that any and all evidence that may be of an importance be identified.”

Sparks told the Williamson Daily News that he plans to move to exclude the information from being heard, and feels that it is irrelevant to the murder case.

The police report causing a buzz in the media now occurred in 2002, during the time Crum served the Town of Delbarton as their Chief of Police. The complaint was dismissed and no charges were filed against Crum after an investigation was conducted by the WVSP.

The alleged victim was 19 years old at the time and stated she had not consented to have sex in the back seat of a police cruiser with Crum, claiming instead to have been forced into the act. She later decided that she no longer wanted to pursue charges against the chief of police. Ron Rumora, who was the prosecuting attorney at the time, pushed for the WVSP to continue the investigation.

The investigation report states that Crum admitted having sex in the backseat of a police cruiser with two of his patrolmen listening from the front seat, saying that the female initiated it. The incident is said to have occurred on December 9, 2001. The woman arrived at the emergency room of the Williamson Memorial Hospital (WMH) a few hours later and complained of injuries related to a sexual assault. Her blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.30, which was three times the legal limit at the time. The state law for BAC is now 0.80.

Details of what allegedly unfolded that evening at Spence’s Bar in Delbarton played out in the following manner, according to the police report:

Crum and his wife Rosie went to the bar on the evening of December 8, 2001. Rosie is said to have left the location later that night, driving their private vehicle. Crum told the state police that he stayed behind and met up with the alleged victim who was there drinking with friends. Crum allegedly stated that he began flirting with the young woman and said she began “hitting on him.” At one point, the woman reportedly suggested that she and Crum “take a ride up the road,” according to the report.

Crum told the troopers that he called Delbarton Police Officer John Meddings for a ride, the officer on duty at the time. When Meddings showed up at the bar, he was allegedly accompanied by another Delbarton officer, Scott Estepp. Crum said that he and the woman got into the backseat and he asked Meddings to drive to Millstone, a public park that’s located approximately a mile out of Delbarton. The report states that Crum told the troopers at that time, the woman began undressing in the backseat and they began kissing. Once at Millstone, the two allegedly had sex in the backseat and the two officers had to turn up the volume on the radio to drown out the noise. The act is said to have played out in approximately 15 minutes or so.

The investigative report states that upon leaving Millstone and driving back toward town, the cruiser passed Crum’s wife Rosie on the roadway and the police chief was worried that he had been caught cheating. Meddings dropped the woman off by her apartment at Delbarton and took Crum back to the bar, where his wife was waiting. A bartender had allegedly told Rosie that her husband had left the bar with another woman.

Staff members of the WMH called the Williamson Police Department (WPD) after the woman made the complaint against Crum, who said they did not take a statement from her at the time of the call due to her allegedly being intoxicated. The WPD forwarded the case to the WVSP Logan Detachment because of Crum being an officer within Mingo County.

Meddings and Estep are said to have told the state police that the sex appeared to be consensual and that they never heard the word “no” or “stop” come from the victim, over the volume of the radio. The officers did state they heard Crum and the alleged victim discussing something about warrants but did not have any particular details as to what the conversation involved.

The WVSP report signed by Trooper S.E. Wolfe concluded the sex between Crum and the female was consensual in nature and that no laws had been broken. Later that same year, Crum was elected as a Mingo County Magistrate and began serving in that capacity.

Further information regarding this report and what part it may or may not play in the sheriff’s murder case will be released as it becomes available. Tennis Maynard will be appearing in Cabell County court today before Circuit Judge Paul Ferrell for a status hearing that is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.