Prosecutor steps down from Mingo sheriff case
WILLIAMSON, W.Va. — Mingo County’s prosecutor recused himself Wednesday from the case of a man accused of fatally shooting Sheriff Eugene Crum, citing a conflict of interest.
Prosecutor Michael Sparks told media outlets in a statement he’s stepped aside in the case of Tennis Maynard and has requested a special prosecutor.
Sparks cites “an emerging conflict of interest” that he wouldn’t specify.
“It would be inappropriate for me to discuss the actual facts and circumstances,” Sparks said.
Sparks didn’t immediately return a telephone message Wednesday and his office said it didn’t have the statement.
Maynard is accused of shooting Crum twice in the head on April 3 as the sheriff ate lunch in his parked vehicle in downtown Williamson. Maynard is scheduled for trial in December.
Maynard, 37, and Crum, 59, had known each other for years.
The former sheriff had was once a boxing club mentor to Maynard when the suspect was a teenager and when Crum was police chief in the town of Delbarton.
Last month, Maynard’s family claimed that Crum had raped the man now accused of killing him and said authorities ignored his reports about the attack. Sparks had said he found no evidence to support either allegation.
Crum had been a county magistrate for more than a decade when he stepped down to run for sheriff last year. He took office on Jan. 1, just three months before he was killed.
Sgt. James Smith was chosen sheriff by the county commission Monday from among four candidates. Two interim sheriffs had served after the shooting, including Crum’s widow, Rosie Crum.