Rape inquiry could play role in Mingo County murder trial
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The prosecutor handling the trial of Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum's alleged killer may include an investigation into allegations that Crum sexually assaulted a woman more than a decade ago as evidence in the trial.
Tennis Melvin Maynard is accused of shooting Crum on April 3, as the sheriff sat in his police cruiser in downtown Williamson.
Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks filed a list of potential state's evidence last month that prosecutors might use during Maynard's trial in October. The list includes a State Police report from 2002 on the allegations that Crum -- who was Delbarton's police chief at the time -- assaulted a 19-year-old woman in the back seat of a town police cruiser.
Crum was never charged in the incident, and the State Police report concluded that the sex between the two was consensual.
Sparks said he couldn't discuss potential evidence, but said including the police report in the prosecution would make more sense during Maynard's trial.
Richard Weston, Maynard's attorney, said the criminal report is in line with Maynard's defense, but would not elaborate.
"I can't divulge any client-attorney communication," Weston said Friday. "I can say the allegations support the general nature of our defense, which involves the history between [Maynard] and the sheriff."
Crum was Maynard's boxing coach when Maynard was a teenager, and took Maynard and other boys to several out-of-state competitions before Maynard dropped the sport during high school.
According to the State Police report obtained by the Sunday Gazette-Mail, Crum admitted to having sex with the woman in the back seat of a Delbarton police cruiser, while two Delbarton police officers listened from the front seat, at 2:30 a.m. Dec. 9, 2001.
Crum told a State Police trooper the woman initiated sex and it was consensual, according to Crum's statement included in the State Police report.
However, the woman later checked into a Williamson hospital and complained of injuries related to a sexual assault, according to the report. Williamson police conducted an emergency rape test and noted the woman's blood alcohol content was nearly 0.30, three times the legal limit at that time in West Virginia.
Four months after the incident, the woman said she no longer wanted to pursue rape allegations against Crum, according to the report. But State Police continued their investigation at the request of Ronald Rumora, who was then Mingo County's prosecuting attorney.
It's unclear what happened at the conclusion of the investigation. Crum was never charged with a crime in the incident.
According to the State Police report, Crum and his wife, Rosie, went to Spence's Bar in Delbarton on Dec. 8, 2001. Rosie Crum left the bar after midnight, taking their car. Crum said he stayed behind and met the victim, who was drinking with friends there.
Crum said he flirted with the victim and she began "hitting on him," according to the police report. At one point, the woman suggested that she and Crum "take a ride up the road," according to the police report.
Crum said he called Delbarton Police Officer John Meddings, who was on duty at the time, for a ride. Meddings showed up at the bar in a Delbarton police cruiser along with another Delbarton officer, Scott Estepp.
Crum and the woman got into the backseat and Crum asked Meddings to drive to Millstone, a public park about a mile outside of Delbarton.
Crum told police the woman began undressing and they kissed in the backseat. Once at Millstone, they had sex in the backseat, he said. The two officers in the front seat turned up the radio to drown out the noise, according to the report.
The woman never said "no" or "stop" and did not appear to be intoxicated, Crum said, according to the police report. The incident lasted about 15 minutes, he said.
"Crum said he knew it was morally wrong for cheating on his wife, but he did not force sexual activity upon the victim," State Police wrote in their report.
As the group was driving back after the alleged incident, they passed Rosie Crum on the road and Eugene Crum worried he had been caught cheating, according to the report.
Meddings dropped the woman off at her apartment in Delbarton and took Crum back to the bar, where his wife was waiting, according to the report. A bartender allegedly told Rosie Crum that her husband had left the bar with another woman.
Later that morning, the alleged victim went to Williamson Memorial Hospital and reported a sexual assault. She told staff that Crum fondled her even though she said "don't," according to the police report.
Hospital staff called Williamson police, who said they did not take an initial statement because the woman was intoxicated. Williamson police forwarded the case to State Police in Logan County because of Crum's position in Mingo County.
Meddings and Scott told State Police that the sex appeared to be consensual and they did not hear the victim say "no" or "stop" over the sound of their radio. Scott said he heard Crum and the victim discussing something about warrants before they had sex, according to the report.
State Police unsuccessfully tried to contact the alleged victim for months before receiving a handwritten letter from her stating she did not wish to pursue allegations further. However, Rumora suggested later that the woman did in fact wish to pursue the allegations, according to the report.
The State Police report, filed by Trooper S.E. Wolfe, concluded the sex between Crum and the victim was consensual and no laws had been broken.
Later in 2002, Crum was elected Mingo County magistrate, a position he held until last year, when he was elected sheriff. He had served about three months as sheriff before he was killed.
Maynard, the alleged shooter, fled to Delbarton after the shooting, where police said he pointed a gun at Mingo County Sheriff's Deputy Norman Mines. Mines opened fire, hitting Maynard several times.
Besides murder, Maynard also is charged with fleeing and attempted murder for allegedly pointing a gun at Mines.
Sparks said previously that he plans to present Maynard's medical records and several orders of involuntary commitment during Maynard's trial.
Reach Travis Crum at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5163.