Man found incompetent to stand trial in fatal 2013 shooting of West Virginia sheriff

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HUNTINGTON, West Virginia — A man was found incompetent to stand trial Thursday in the fatal shooting of a West Virginia sheriff who later was implicated by federal prosecutors in a separate corruption scandal.

Cabell County Circuit Judge Paul Farrell ordered Tennis Melvin Maynard of Delbarton committed to a state mental health facility for life.

Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum was killed in April 2013 in downtown Williamson.

Farrell had ordered a mental health evaluation in November 2013 for Maynard. Last February, Farrell indefinitely postponed Maynard's murder trial.

Farrell presided over the case on special assignment.

Crum, 59, was fatally shot while eating lunch in his parked cruiser. Maynard, who was 37 at the time of his arrest, was shot and wounded by a sheriff's deputy in a chase following the attack on Crum.

Maynard and Crum had known each other for years, with Crum previously serving as a boxing club mentor to Maynard when he was a teenager and when Crum was police chief in the town of Delbarton.

Family members told reporters at an August 2013 court appearance that Crum sexually assaulted Maynard several years ago. Mingo County authorities challenged the claims.

Maynard's father has previously said his son has mental health issues, and evidence collected by the Mingo County prosecutor's office included orders of involuntary hospitalizations.

Later in 2013, federal prosecutors charged Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury and county prosecutor Michael Sparks in a scheme aimed at protecting Crum from accusations that he bought prescription painkillers from a campaign sign maker. Thornsbury and Sparks later resigned.

The sign maker, George White, was told that if he switched lawyers and pleaded guilty to drug charges, he would receive a lighter sentence from Thornsbury, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say Crum had White arrested in early 2013 instead of paying $3,000 he owed for campaign signs made by White. White then went to federal agents and told them he provided Crum with pills.

Thornsbury was sentenced last year to 50 months in prison for conspiring to deprive White of his constitutional rights. Former Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks was sentenced to a year in prison for depriving White of his constitutional rights.

White, who spoke at the sentencings for both Thornsbury and Sparks, said he spent 240 days in jail and prison.

Former county commissioner David Baisden was implicated but not charged in the Crum case. Baisden, who also resigned, was sentenced in an unrelated case last year for trying to get a tire store to sell him tires for his personal use at a government contract rate.

Crum's widow, Rosie Crum, didn't immediately return a telephone message seeking comment Thursday.

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