(Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a two-part series.)
WILLIAMSON - “I can’t bring myself to believe that Tennis Maynard just woke up one morning and thought, “I’m going to go kill the Sheriff today,” stated Rosie Crum, the widow of former Sheriff Eugene Crum, who was killed on April 3rd of this year.
“There’s more to this story - there’s information out there that we’re not being told about, someone knows something. And due to the fact that Tennis Maynard is considered mentally challenged, we may truly never know the truth, and that is enough to drive anyone crazy.”
Crum made these statements while speaking with the Williamson Daily News in an exclusive interview in which the widow made a choice to break her silence and publicly defend her late-husband’s name.
“The hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life was to bury my husband of 37 years. The next hardest thing I did was to look his killer in the eye,” said Crum with a voice filled with tears. “I want to know why, I want answers. My mind won’t rest, I haven’t had a peaceful night’s sleep since he passed away.
Crum commented briefly on the allegations Maynard’s family made against the slain sheriff, claiming he had raped Maynard when he as young.
“That is the most disgusting thing anyone could ever be accused of and nothing could be further from the truth. Eugene and I have always been dedicated to the youth in our area and on any given day, you would find a large number of kids at our home. Eugene coached sports from the time our son was 3 years old and big enough to dribble a ball. Grown people that spent time in our home or were coached by my husband still call me, telling me what a wonderful guy he was and how much they loved and respected him. We raised two children as our own that belonged to other people…I could go on and on about his involvement with children and when I think of the lies his killer’s family has spread to try to justify his murder - I get physically sick.”
“I can’t stand back for another minute and listen to these allegations I know are not true,” said Crum. “Eugene was not involved in drugs, never bought drugs, did not owe George White any money for campaign materials and did not treat one of the deputies unfairly.”
In yesterday’s edition of the Daily News, Crum spoke of the allegations made against her husband by George White, who pled guilty to possession and selling drugs in April, 2013. White recently filed a petition to have his plea thrown out after former Circuit Court Judge Michael Thornsbury and former Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks pled guilty to charges that they violated the constitutional rights of White. He also alleged that Crum targeted him for arrest to keep from paying a $3,000 debt for campaign materials he purchased during the 2012 Primary Election from White’s Signs.
“Another matter that I want to talk about is what happened when Eugene fired Arthur Farra,” said Crum. “Arthur was assigned to protect the kids at Mingo Central. I can’t tell you how many times Marcella Charles (principal) called our house complaining about the officer, saying he was showing up late and leaving early and wouldn’t walk the halls and do his assigned duties. The school called Eugene and scheduled a meeting with him and Arthur during a day when the students were off school for a senate faculty meeting, to address these issues.”
“Eugene called Rhoda at the sheriff’s office and told her to call Sgt. Farra and let him know to be at the school at 8 a.m. the next morning. Arthur got angry, and said he was not going to the school, and also used profanity. Eugene then fired him for refusing to follow orders.”
“I know if Arthur had been investigating my husband for suspicions of drugs Eugene would have told me, that’s not something he would have hid and he never said one word about it. He didn’t want to fire Arthur but the officer pushed him until he didn’t have any other direction to go.”
Farra was recently reinstated to the department in his position as Sargent, was awarded back-pay and a $50,000 settlement with the county’s insurance after he filed a wrongful dismissal suit against Crum, the department and the county commission, claiming that he was targeted for firing by the former sheriff because he and another deputy were conducting an investigation against him.
“Eugene always treated officers that served with him or under him with respect. He treated them how he wanted to be treated,” claimed Crum. “He was good to everyone he met.”
Crum said that she is aware there will be people to disagree with her statements, refuse to believe them or turn a deaf ear to what she has to say, and remarked that she is prepared for that. The widow concluded the interview by saying she felt the time was right to break her silence and defend her late-husband’s name and reputation.
“I loved my husband better than life, and he loved me. Nothing was more important to him than his family, loving life and doing his job. He had lived with those morals as his stepping stones through his life and I pray with all my heart that people will see through this fog of scandal, blame and lies and remember the Sheriff that they voted into office, and know in their hearts that he did the very best job he could possible do.”
“I pray they don’t believe the lies that have been said against him, simply because he is dead and is not here to defend his name or his reputation. I ask that you continue to remember me and my family in your prayers as we approach the time for the trial of Tennis Maynard to begin, that God will give us strength to make it through.”