CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Kanawha County Prosecutor's Office is now in charge of the case against Tennis Maynard, the man accused of gunning down Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum.
The West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute announced Tuesday it had appointed the office of Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants to oversee the case that's garnered national attention.
"Murder cases take lots of resources," said Philip Morrison, executive director of the institute. "They have the resources to handle a case like that."
Assistant Prosecutor Fred Giggenbach will help Plants with the prosecution, Plants said.
Maynard is accused of shooting Crum in broad daylight as the sheriff sat in his car in downtown Williamson in April.
Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks led the case after Maynard's arrest, but last week asked to be disqualified. He said he recently learned information that would make it impossible for him to adequately prosecute the case.
Sparks later said some of the details pertain to accusations that Crum tried to thwart an FBI investigation into alleged drug activity by the former sheriff. Sparks is facing his own legal challenges, including a request the state Supreme Court suspend his law license, in connection to those accusations.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Plants said he didn't know much yet about the case.
"I really haven't followed it closely. I'm aware of the basic details, but I'm really not aware of any real specific facts of the case through the media," Plants said.
"But come Thursday, when I have the file, I'll obviously make myself aware of all the evidence."
Plants said his office contacted Sparks' office Tuesday to make arrangements to receive the case file. Plants said he had not yet spoken with Rick West, Maynard's attorney.
West did not return a phone call requesting comment.
While overseeing the case, Sparks maintained he would not seek to move the trial to a different county.
"We're going to cross that bridge at a later date, once I know the facts and the law," Plants said, regarding whether he'll seek a venue change.
Earlier in the year the state Supreme Court appointed Cabell Circuit Judge Paul Farrell to oversee the trial. It's still slated for December.
Whether the trial actually proceeds at that time is up to the judge, Plants said. He'll try his best to be ready for every currently scheduled hearing, but there is always a chance he'll ask for more time by filing for a continuance, Plants said.
Although the case has received a great deal of media attention, Plants said he hasn't really followed the reports. He thinks the attention could put more pressure on the jury, but it won't affect how his office handles the case.
Writers Zack Harold and Ashley B. Craig contributed to this report.