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Suspect in sheriff slaying also faces federal gun charges

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Mingo County man accused of gunning down Sheriff Eugene Crum in April will also face federal gun charges.

A federal grand jury indicted Tennis Melvin Maynard on illegal firearms possession charges Tuesday, more than two months after the shooting. Maynard already faces murder, attempted murder and fleeing charges on the state level.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced Tuesday evening the federal grand jury sitting in Charleston had handed down the indictment against Maynard, 37, of Delbarton.

Maynard was once committed to a mental institution, making it illegal for him to possess a gun. The new indictment also charges him with making a false statement in acquisition of a firearm.

If convicted, he faces up to 75 years in federal prison.

"My office remains thoroughly committed to keeping guns out of the hands of individuals who cannot legally have them," Goodwin said in a statement.

The indictment is being brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a nationwide effort to reduce gun crimes by networking existing programs. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Loew is prosecuting the case.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) had been investigating since the shooting occurred.

Goodwin told the Associated Press in April agents were looking into whether Maynard lied on the federal forms needed to get a gun permit. Federal law prohibits the sale of guns and ammunition to people with certain kinds of mental illness.   

Maynard allegedly made false statements on five separate occasions, according to the 10-count indictment. An individual must complete Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Form 4473 when purchasing a gun from a federally licensed firearms dealer. Making a false statement on the form is a felony.

He indicated on the forms at Gander Mountain in South Charleston, B & B Loans in Logan, and Johnny's Gun & Pawn in Huntington that he had never been committed to a mental institution. The indictment shows Maynard was committed in Mingo Circuit Court to a mental institution on Feb. 10, 2010.

Maynard also possessed three weapons -- a .40-caliber Smith and Wesson pistol, Walther .380-caliber handgun and a Glock Model 27 .40-caliber handgun -- though he was prohibited from doing so because he had been committed to a mental institution.

The indictment alleges he had those weapons in his possession five times in 2010 and 2011 as well as in April 2013. The indictments allege he possessed the Smith and Wesson and the Glock on the day of the shooting.

Maynard allegedly approached Mingo Sheriff Eugene Crum the afternoon of April 3 while he sat in a police vehicle in downtown Williamson and shot him twice in the head killing him. Maynard then fled the scene but crashed his vehicle into a bridge in the Delbarton area.

Authorities said Maynard was armed when he exited his vehicle and pointed his weapon at a pursuing deputy. The deputy fired, striking Maynard seven times and seriously injuring him. 

Maynard was underwent emergency surgery and was hospitalized at Cabell Huntington Hospital up until May 15 when he was released and arrested. He appeared that day in Cabell Circuit Court where he pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder and fleeing. Cabell Circuit Judge Paul Ferrell denied bond for him during a June 18 hearing in Huntington. 

Calls to Rich Weston, Maynard's attorney, were not immediately returned. Maynard remains at Western Regional Jail. Trial is set to begin on the state level charges in October. 

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at or 304-348-4850.

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