Around lunchtime on Wednesday, Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum was shot dead near the county courthouse. Delegates Harry Keith White and Justin Marcum, who represent Mingo, knew Crum and talked to Dave about the recently-elected sheriff.
House Finance Chairman Harry Keith White, D-Mingo, heard the news when a county commissioner called him crying from the courthouse. White had known Crum for a number of years.
“Eugene was a great guy. A family guy,” White said. The sheriff was married with two children. He also was a grandfather.
“I had known Eugene, we worked together on projects and different things. One of the things he had done was he put together a drug task force before he ever took office.
“He put this drug task force together with other law enforcement in the area, and they had done a lot of work and cleaning up a lot of the drug problems down there. Of course, he was sworn in Jan. 1, and to my knowledge has done a pretty good job since then.”
White called Crum “a hometown guy” who lived on Pigeon Creek. He said it seemed unlikely he would have enemies in the county.
“He’d been a magistrate for several years in the magistrate system in Mingo County. So when the opportunity came where there was going to be an open seat for sheriff, he announced … and he won,” he said.
“He’s got a pretty large base of support down there. Outstanding gentleman.”
Delegate Justin Marcum, D-Mingo, is also the assistant prosecutor in Mingo County.
“This is — it’s devastating,” he said. “As a prosecutor, I campaigned with him. I’m good friends with him outside of our professional life. As a prosecutor, as a friend, I’ve never seen anything like it.
“It’s devastating. He was a friend of everyone in the community.”
Marcum said he and Crum went door-to-door while campaigning. Crum had been a magistrate for more than a decade, he said, and at one point served as the chief of police in Delbarton.
“He was magistrate for 12 years, and his dream was to be the sheriff of Mingo County,” Marcum said, his voice breaking as he spoke. “And he got it. A great man, great husband, a great father. Just a great, overall, I mean you can’t beat him.”
Click here to read the Daily Mail’s full story about Crum. In other news:
- House Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, and House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, R-Wayne, say they want to pass Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin‘s prison reform bill this session, but are uncomfortable with a provision in that bill to allow non-violent offenders out of jail six months early into a supervised release program. Armstead said the governor’s office hasn’t listened to those concerns, however. “So far that conversation has been trying to convince us that we’re wrong, rather than listening to our concerns and trying to address them,” he said.
- The state Senate passed 31 bills during yesterday’s floor session, the last day for bills to leave their respective houses of origin. Among the bills passed was a measure to cut table game license fees at four state racetracks to $1.5 million this year. Wheeling Island Racetrack and Casino previously has indicated it cannot afford the current $2.5 million fee and, without help from the Legislature, likely would end its table game operation. Click here to read about that bill and others that passed the Senate on “crossover day.”
- The House of Delegates used their crossover day floor sessions to pass a bill meant to remove tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike by 2020. The bill passed 98-1 with Delegate Danny Wells, D-Kanawha, casting the lone opposing vote. It’s a controversial move. Both the governor’s office and the state Parkways Authority oppose removing tolls, since it brings in about $80 million a year.
- Rep. Shelley Moore Capito raised almost a million dollars for her U.S. Senate campaign in the first quarter of this year. According to a report from the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, Capito raised $915,000 in the first three months of this year. She has nearly $2.35 million in total campaign funds.
- Daily Mail city and county reporter Paul Fallon is becoming a regular in our lunchtime rundowns. According to Paul’s story in today’s paper, there have only been two violations to Charleston’s handgun purchasing ordinance since it was enacted 20 years ago. The House of Delegates last month approved a bill to repeal that ordinance and other municipal gun measures around the state. That bill is likely dead in the state Senate, however, following threats to committee chairmen.