By Rachel Dove
HUNTINGTON - The man accused of shooting and killing the late Sheriff Eugene Crum has been moved from jail to a mental hospital, after a judge delayed his trial following a psychiatric evaluation.
Tennis Melvin Maynard, 34, of Delbarton, had been awaiting trial in Western Regional Jail in Huntington since being released from a lengthy hospital stay for treatment of multiple gunshot wounds he sustained while attempting to flee law enforcement after he allegedly shot Crum at close range in a parking lot in Williamson last April.
Maynard was also charged with the attempted murder of Mingo County Sheriff’s Department Cpl. N. Mines, who said the defendant pointed a gun at him after he was located in Delbarton just a short time after he killed Crum. Mines fired upon Maynard, striking him numerous times.
Last month, Cabell County Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell postponed a murder trial for Maynard that was set to begin this week in Mingo County. The judge did not give a reason for postponing the trial and did not set a new trial date.
Maynard’s attorney, Richard Weston, said Friday that he could not discuss the matter. Farrell had ordered the postponement before a hearing on the results of a psychiatric evaluation requested by Weston. In November, Weston had asked that Dr. Bobby Miller of Huntington evaluate Maynard to determine if he is competent to stand trial for the slaying of Sheriff Crum. During the hearing, the judge met with Maynard, Weston and Kanawha County prosecutors, who have been assigned to the case, behind closed doors to discuss the evaluation. According to state law, an inmate may be moved from jail to a state-operated psychiatric hospital if a doctor deems the inmate incompetent.
The state Department of Health and Human Resources operates the William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston,where Maynard is currently being held, to care for patients who are civily committed or court-ordered to the hospital, according to its website. The hospital treats patients’ psychiatric illness until the patient has gained competency to stand trial and can be returned to the judicial system.
In 2010, Maynard checked into at least two psychiatric facilities for unknown reasons. Maynard’s family has told news media that the defendant’s mental state changed after a coal mining accident in 2007 in Alabama. Mental trauma from the experience caused Maynard to stay awake for days at a time, they said.
Among evidence that prosecutors may present at Maynard’s trial are several orders of involuntary hospitalizations from Williamson Memorial Hospital, Logan-Mingo Mental Health Clinic and Highland Hospital in Charleston.
Maynard entered a not-guilty plee to the charges filed against him, and was then indicted by a federal grand jury in June of last year on charges of possession of a firearm by an individual who had been committed to a mental institution and making a false statement in acquisition of a firearm. He also faces charges of illegally possessing a firearm on five occasions.
Federal authorities have said Maynard lied on three gun background check forms about being committed to a mental institution. Maynard was able to buy three guns in 2010, including a .40-caliber Glock pistol that is believed to be the one used in Crum’s murder, but was denied a gun purchase twice in 2011 after the state began reporting mental health records to the federal government.