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  • Writer's pictureMountain State Mysteries

MURDERED : WALTER EUGENE CRUM

WALTER “EUGENE” CRUM WAS A GRADUATE OF BURCH HIGH SCHOOL AND BEGAN HIS CAREER IN LAW ENFORCEMENT AS A CORRECTIONAL OFFICER FOR FOUR YEARS SERVING WITH THE MATEWAN AND DELBARTON POLICE DEPTS IN MINGO COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA.

CRUM ALSO SERVED AS A POLICE OFFICER IN THE MATEWAN POLICE DEPT, WHILE WORKING WITH CHIEF DAVE STRATTON FOR 11 YEARS BEFORE ACCEPTING THE CHIEF OF POLICE POSITION WITH THE TOWN OF DELBARTON. AFTER ACHIEVING THE ROLE OF CHIEF OF POLICE IN DELBARTON, CRUM STEPPED DOWN AND RAN SUCCESSFULLY FOR THE OFFICE OF MINGO COUNTY MAGISTRATE. HE SERVED TEN YEARS ON THE BENCH AS A MINGO COUNTY SHERIFF. WHILE HE WAS WAITING TO TAKE THE OFFICE, HE WAS HIRED BY THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEY C. MICHAEL SPARKS AS A SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR FOR THE MINGO COUNTY’S PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE. EUGENE CRUM HAD NEARLY THREE DECADES OF DIRECT LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPERIENCE AS HIS QUALIFICATION TO BECOME SHERIFF.


CRUM’S TERM AS SHERIFF OF MINGO COUNTY WAS BRIEF BUT MADE A HUGE IMPACT. WITHIN THE 93 DAYS THAT CRUM WAS THE SHERIFF OF MINGO COUNTY, HE HAD 57 FELONY DRUG CONVICTIONS. ACCORDING TO THE MINGO COUNTY CIRCUIT JUDGE MICHAEL THORNSBURY, CRUM HAD DONE MORE THAN ANY OTHER SHERIFF OF HAD SEEN IN THE PREVIOUS 30 YEARS AND HE HAD MADE MORE INDICTMENTS THAN MINGO COUNTY HAD SEEN IN THE PREVIOUS EIGHT YEARS.

AS SHERIFF, CRUM WAS DETERMINED TO PUT A STOP TO ILLEGAL DRUG TRAFFICKING IN THE COUNTY. AS A SIGN OF DEDICATION TO MINGO COUNTY AND TO HIS PASSION IN LAW ENFORCEMENT, CRUM WOULD EAT HIS LUNCH IN HIS OFFICIAL CRUISER EVERY DAY, JUST TO OBSERVE A PILL MILL THAT HAD BEEN SHUT DOWN A FEW YEARS BEFORE TO MAKE SURE IT DID NOT OPEN AGAIN. EVEN BEFORE CRUM TOOK OFFICE AS SHERIFF IN JANUARY, HE WORKED DAY AND NIGHT MAKING ARRESTS AND OBTAINING INDICTMENTS, WHILE HE WAS A DRUG TASK FORCE COMMANDER. WHILE SHERIFF CRUM, HIS DEPUTIES, AND OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES IN MINGO COUNTY WORKED TO WIPE OUT CRIME, ESPECIALLY TARGETING DRUG DEALERS, CRUM HAD RECEIVED PERSONAL THREATS BECAUSE OF HIS FIGHT TO STOP PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE. WHEN CRUM WAS CONFRONTED BY JUDGE MICHAEL THORNSBURY ABOUT THE THREATS THAT HE HAD BEEN RECEIVING, HE SAID, “I’M FIGHTING BACK, I’M GOING TO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT.” IT WAS ONLY MINUTES LATER THAT HE WAS MURDERED. JUDGE THORNSBURY WAS LATER SENTENCED FOR FOUR YEARS IN PRISON FOR A CORRUPTION SCHEME INVOLVING A DEFENDANT WHO HAD INFORMATION ABOUT CRUMS ILLEGAL PRESCRIPTION USE AND CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION VIOLATIONS.



CRUM WAS SHOT AT POINT BLANK RANGE WHILE SITTING IN HIS OFFICIAL VEHICLE IN A PARKING LOT, WHILE HE WAS EATING HIS LUNCH, AT THE CORNER OF THIRD AVENUE AND HARVEY STREET ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3RD, 2013, IN WILLIAMSON, WEST VIRGINIA, A LITTLE AFTER NOON.

TENNIS MELVIN MAYNARD, 37, OF RAGLAND, WEST VIRGINIA, WALKED UP TO THE SHERIFF’S SUV AND AT POINT BLANK RANGE, ALLEGEDLY SHOT CRUM IN THE FOREHEAD AND TEMPLE REGION, KILLING HIM INSTANTLY.

AFTER KILLING CRUM, MAYNARD FLED FROM THE SCENE TRAVELING SOUTH ON U.S. 52 TOWARD DELBARTON, WHERE HE WAS SHOT AND TRANSPORTED TO REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER IN LOGAN COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA, AND WAS LATER TRANSFERRED TO CABELL HUNTINGTON HOSPITAL IN HUNTINGTON, WEST VIRGINIA.


CRUM WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE BY THE MINGO COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER, MIKE CASEY, AND WAS TRANSPORTED TO THE STATE MEDICAL EXAMINER'S OFFICE IN CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA, FOR AN AUTOPSY.

THE HANDGUN ALLEGEDLY USED TO MURDER CRUM WAS CONFISCATED FROM MAYNARD’S VEHICLE, AND WAS IDENTIFIED BY MINGO COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT SERGEANT. JOE SMITH AS A COMPACT .40 CALIBER GLOCK HANDGUN.


MELVIN MAYNARD, TENNIS MELVINS FATHER, SAID HIS 37 YEAR-YEAR-OLD ON DEVELOPED MENTAL ISSUES AFTER HE WAS EXPOSED TO CHEMICALS ON A JOB IN ALABAMA COAL MINE.

HIS FATHER WOULD NOT ELABORATE ON WHAT KIND OF MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS HIS SON HAD. BUT HE SAID HE BELIEVED HIS SON WOULD HAVE SHOT THE FIRST PERSON HE SAW. HE ADMITTED THAT HIS SON SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN A HOSPITAL, ADDING THAT HIS SON HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN IN AN INSTITUTION. IT WAS LATER REVEALED THAT CUM COACHED MAYNARD IN BOXING AS A CHILD AND WAS ACCUSED OF ABUSING HIM.


Crum's funeral was held on Sunday, April 7, at 1 p.m. inside the Mingo Central High School gymnasium. Several thousand attended the visitation and funeral Over 500 law enforcement officials were in attendance from all across the USA including Alaska, California, Mississippi and Texas, and 273 police cruisers participated in the funeral procession as a show of respect.


MAYNARD'S FAMILY CLAIMED THAT THE SHOOTING WAS MOTIVATED BY THE FACT THAT MAYNARD WAS RAPED BY CRUM WHEN HE WAS A TEENAGER.

COURT DOCUMENTS REVEALED THAT ANOTHER RAPE ALLEGATION WAS BROUGHT UP AGAINST CRUM. IT’S ALLEGED THAT CRUM RAPED A 19-YEAR-OLD WOMAN IN 2002 IN THE BACK OF A POLICE OFFICER CRISTER WHILE TWO OFFICERS SAT IN THE FRONT, TURNING UP THE RADIO TO COVER UP THE ATTACK.

THE ALLEGATIONS ARE PART OF A WIDER INVESTIGATION INTO THE MURKY WORLD OF MINGO COUNTY WHERE ALLEGATIONS OF MURDER, PUBLIC CORRUPTION, ILLEGAL DRUGS, MOONSHINE AND ILLICIT AFFAIRS HAVE RUMBLED FOR DECADES.


IN AN ARTICLE DEVANNA BALL SAID “I’VE HEARD THE STORIES IT’S NOT TRUE AND I DON’T BELIEVE IT. I’VE KNOWN CRUM FOR DECADES, IF IT WAS TRUE WHY DIDN’T COME OUT WHILE HE WAS RUNNING FOR SHERIFF? WHY ARE THEY WAITING FOR THE MAN TO BE DEAD AND BRING IT OUT? HE’S A HERO. HE’LL STAY OUR HERO. HE'S A GOOD MAN.”


FROM MY RESEARCH I COULD TELL THAT THE TOWN OF WILLIAMSON WAS BASICALLY DIVIDED OVER THIS. SOME BELIEVED THAT HE DID IT AND SOME JUST DIDN’T.

YOU BASICALLY HAVE THE HE SAID SHE SAID SITUATION GOING ON AND THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO REALLY KNOW ARE THE ONES THAT WERE THERE.


AFTER THE DEATH OF CRUM JAMES SMITH WHO RAN AGAINST EUGINE WAS APPOINTED SHERIFF.



AS THE FBI WAS INVESTIGATING THE MOTIVE FOR EUGENE'S MURDER.

IN A CHARLESTON GAZETTE ARTICLE, IT STATED THAT THE INVESTIGATION HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR OVER A YEAR AT THIS POINT. THAT FORMER US ATTORNEY BOOTH GODWIN’S OFFICE WAS OVER IT.

DURING THIS THERE WERE CLAIMS THAT CRUM HAD BEEN PURCHASING PRESCRIPTION PAINKILLERS. ACCORDING TO THESE CLAIMS HE OWED GEORGE WHITE THE MAN WHO MADE THE SIGNS FOR HIS CAMPAIGN $3,000.

ALLEGEDLY CRUM DIDN’T WANT TO PAY AND HE REACHED OUT TO OTHER PEOPLE IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM TO GET THE MAN PUT AWAY ON DRUG CHARGES. TWO INVOLVED HAVE DENIED ALL ALLEGATIONS BUT ONE WAS EXPECTED TO PLEAD GUILTY.


IN THE ARTICLE IT STATED THAT EUGINE JUST OWEED $3,000 WHEN IT CAME TO ALL OF THE MATERIALS OWED FOR HIS CAMPAIGN WITH NO MENTION OF DRUGS.


IT WAS AFTER GEORGE WHITE WAS ARRESTED SAID HE HAD BEEN SELLING PILLS TO EUGENE. WHEN IT WAS FOUND OUT THAT THE MAN WAS TALKING THERE WAS A RUMOR THAT THERE WAS AN ATTEMPT TO REPLACE HIS LAWYERS BY THE CORRUPT OFFICIALS. HIS CURRENT LAWYER WAS ACTING AS THE MIDDLEMAN BETWEEN HIS CLIENT AND THE POLICE.


WHITE ACTUALLY AGREED TO CHANGE LAWYERS DUE TO THE FACT THAT HE KNEW THE CORRUPTION IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM WOULD MAKE SURE THAT HE WAS FOUND GUILTY. ALLEGEDLY WITH HIM AGREEING TO THE DEAL HE WAS SENTENCED TO 1 TO 14 YEARS FOR SELLING DRUGS TO An UNDERCOVER COP.


FROM WHAT I’VE SEEN IN RESEARCH MOST PEOPLE IN THE TOWN OF WILLAMSON KNEW ABOUT THE CORRUPTION AND KNEW TO EXPECT THAT KIND OF OUTCOME BECAUSE IT WASN’T UNCOMMON FOR PEOPLE TO PLEAD GUILTY EITHER WAY.


ACCORDING TO THE SAME ARTICLE THERE WAS OTHER CHARGES PENDING AGAINST CRUM.

“THE FBI WAS INVESTIGATING MINGO COUNTY SHERIFF EUGINE CRUM FOR LAUNDERING MONEY BY ARRANGING TO BUY CAMPAIGN SIGNS WITH CASH OBTAINED FROM A DR. CONVICTED OF RUNNING A PILL MILL. ACCORDING TO A FEDERAL SEARCH WARRANT, ACCORDING TO THE WARRANT THAT WAS UNSEALED LAST WEEK DR. DIANE SHAFFER (SAFE-HER) PAID HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CASH TO GEORGE WHITE TO MAKE EUGINE'S SIGNS. ACCORDING TO THE WARRANT ISSUED TO SEARCH CRUMS PHONE. THE FBI ALSO WAS INVESTIGATING WHETHER CRUM COMMITED MAIL FROM BY SUBMITTING FAKE CAMPAIGN DISCLOSURE FORMS BY MAIL AND ALSO IF CRUM POSSESSED LEGAL DRUGS AND IF HE TENDED TO DISTRIBUTE THOSE DRUGS.”


IN SEPTEMBER 2O12 DIANE PLEAD GUILTY AND WAS SENTENCED TO 6 MONTHS FOR THE MISS USE OF HER DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION REGISTRATION NUMBER.

IN THE PLEA IT CAME AS A RESULT OF A FEDERAL PROBE THAT EXAMINED MORE THAN 118,000 PRESCRIPTIONS THAT DIANE HAD GIVEN OUT SINCE 2003.


SOME WHO KNEW EUGINE AND THE OTHERS INVOLVED TALK TO USA TODAY IN SEPTEMBER 2013 SAID “HE’S DEAD AND HE CAN’T DEFEND HIMSELF, BUT I KNEW HIM ALL OF HIS LIFE AND I NEVER KNEW HIM TO BE INVOLVED IN IT. AS FAR AS WE KNEW IT WAS ALL NICE PEOPLE. WE DON’T KNOW WHO TO TRUST NOW.”


IN THE SAME USA TODAY ARTICLE, IT SAID “LAST MONTH FEDERAL PROSECUTORS CHARGED GEORGE THORNSBURY WITH AN UNRELATED CONSPIRACY. THEY SAY THE POWERFUL JUDGE OF 16 YEARS HAD AN AFFAIR WITH HIS SECRETARY AND REPEATEDLY TRIED TO FRAME HER HUSBAND FOR CRIMES HE DIDN’T COMMIT AFTER SHE BROKE THINGS OFF.”


IN 2015 ROSIE CRUM EUGINE’S WIDOW FILED A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE FUNERAL HOME AND SEVERAL COUNTY OFFICIALS OVER THE BURIAL EXPENSES. SHE CLAIMED IN THE SUIT THAT TWO MINGO COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND A FORMER COMMISSIONER HAD TOLD HER THAT THEY WOULD HANDLE THE EXPENSES OF THE FUNERAL. AT WHICH POINT THE FUNERAL HOME PUT TOGETHER AN ELABORATE FUNERAL BEFORE SENDING HER THE BILL. THE SUIT WAS DISMISSED BY THE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT AND THE DECISION WAS APPEALED TO THE STATE SUPREME COURT WHICH FURTHER BACKED UP THE DECISION. THE REASON IT WAS RULED THIS WAY IS THAT THERE WAS APPARENTLY NO CONTRACT IN PLACE BETWEEN ROSIE AND THE COMMISSIONERS.

IF ALL OF THIS IS TRUE IT’S SO MESSED UP. WE BOTH KNOW HOW EXPENSIVE FUNERALS CAN BE BUT TO HAVE ONE BE ELABORATE AND HELD IN A HIGH SCHOOL YOU KNOW IT’S GOING TO COST A PRETTY PENNY.



IN 2018 TENNIS WAS EVALUATED AGAIN TO SEE IF HE WAS COMPETENT ENOUGH TO STAND TRIAL. HE WAS ACTUALLY DEEMED COMPETENT AT THE TIME.

A MEMBER OF THE PROSECUTORS OFFICES CHUCK MILLER SAID THAT AT THIS POINT THAT HE EXPECTED MAYNARD’S DEFENSE TO TRY TO PUT FORWARD An INSANITY PLEA.


IN A METRO NEWS ARTICLE MILLER SAID “COMPETENCY IS AN ISSUE WHETHER OR NOT YOU CAN STAND TRIAL. WHILE INSANITY GOES TO YOUR STATE OF MIND AT THE TIME OF THE CRIME.”

DURING HIS COMPETENCY HEARING Media was not allowed inside the hearing, but according to court officials, Keadle ruled that Maynard should be sent back to Sharpe Hospital for further evaluation.


Kanawha County Prosecutor Chuck Miller said Keadle felt more information was needed.

"The issue of competency of the defendant has been before the court for some time, and there was a hearing yesterday on that issue. The judge in the case, Keadle, returned him to Sharpe Hospital for further evaluation, with an update in 90 days. The judge felt additional information was needed."


SINCE THE INCARNATION OF TENNIS HIS FATHER WHO SERVED AS THE SPOKESPERSON OF THE FAMILY PASSED AWAY.


TENNIS HAS BEEN IN THE MENTAL HOSPITAL IN WESTON, WV SINCE 2018 AND AS OF RIGHT NOW I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO FIND ANYMORE UPDATES SINCE THE TRAIL FROM 2018. I’M NOT SURE IF HIS MENTAL STATE HAS GONE DOWN OR IF THEY GOT A SECOND OPINION ON HIM.


AS FAR AS ROSIE IS CONCERNED ACCORDING TO A HERALD DISPATCH ARTICLE “I’VE BEEN A TRAIN WRECK SINCE ALL OF THIS HAS HAPPENED, BUT I’VE FINALLY KINDA MOVED ON WITH MY LIFE. I HOPE THE JUSTICE SYSTEM DOES DO WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO.”

SHE’S CONVINCED THAT THE CLAIMS AGAINST HER HUSBAND ARE FALSE. SHE SAID, “I KNOW WHAT KIND OF HUSBAND I HAD.”

TO THIS DAY WE STILL HAVE NO IDEA THE TRUE MOTIVATION AS TO WHY TENNIS TARGETED EUGINE. COULD IT BE FROM BECAUSE OF THE SEXUAL ABUSE HE SUFFERED FROM? COULD IT BE FROM HIS MENTAL ISSUES?

EITHER WAY THERE’S A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO BELIEVE TENNIS KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING. JUDGING FROM A LOT OF THE ARTICLES I’VE LOOKED AT.



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