Prosecutor: No evidence slain Mingo sheriff assaulted accused killer
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks said Friday he's found no evidence supporting allegations that slain Sheriff Eugene Crum sexually assaulted his alleged killer, Tennis Maynard.
The co-founder of the boxing club where Crum coached Maynard more than 20 years ago also disputed those allegations.
Maynard's family said after a Cabell County Circuit Court hearing this week that Crum had sexually assaulted Maynard in his youth. Maynard's brother, Leslie, said his family reported the allegation but that nothing came of it.
Tennis Maynard, 37, is charged with shooting Crum on April 3, as the sheriff sat in his police cruiser in downtown Williamson.
Sparks said he became aware of the sexual assault allegation immediately after the shooting.
"From the very beginning, in our first investigative meeting, I determined that there should be an independent investigation into the allegations leveled by Maynard's family," the prosecutor said.
The West Virginia State Police looked into the allegation and found nothing to corroborate it, Sparks said.
He said he would present evidence during Maynard's trial in December to show the alleged sexual assault never happened. He said he would not elaborate on that evidence.
Additionally, Sparks said he would seek to exclude a State Police report from 2002 over allegations first reported by the Gazette-Mail that Crum sexually assaulted a 19-year-old woman. Crum was never charged in the incident; the State Police report concluded that the sex between Crum, then Delbarton's police chief, and the woman was consensual.
"We have went back and reinvestigated those allegations, too," Sparks said. "We have also investigated whether or not there are any other potential allegations involving alleged criminal sexual violations."
The State Police has found no evidence of any similar allegations, he said.
Sparks has said previously that Crum's hard stance against prescription drug abuse in Mingo County is not connected to his slaying. Police have not released a possible motive.
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.
Tommy Diamond, 64, of Strawberry Plains, Tenn., started the Delbarton Boxing Club with Crum in the 1990s as a way for local politicians to get involved in a youth program and campaign at sporting events.
Diamond said he's "blown away" by the allegation made by Maynard's family. He said people made the same allegation against him.
"Eugene's wife, Rosie, asked me if I had heard anything," Diamond said. "She said, 'You were supposed to have molested Tennis, too.' I said, 'I don't reckon.'"
Diamond said members of Maynard's family apparently told people in the community that Crum and Diamond molested Maynard while he was in the boxing club. That allegation came to light immediately after Crum's shooting, he said.
"That guy [Maynard] is just reaching for straws," Diamond said.
Diamond said he is willing to testify on behalf of himself and Crum that no sexual assault took place. He said he's close with the Crum and Maynard families.
"I don't know why they would say that that this man even attempted to molest Tennis," Diamond said. "[Maynard] is a guy who came to my son's house in North Carolina, and he would talk about me that way?"
Maynard is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and fleeing with reckless indifference. Jury selection begins Dec. 9 in Mingo County.
Reach Travis Crum at email@example.com or 304-348-5163.