Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks says there was a “systematic failure in the system” that allowed accused murderer Tennis Maynard to purchase a gun before the death of Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum.
Sparks says because of Maynard’s previous time spent in a mental institution he shouldn’t have been able to buy one.
“He was legally disqualified from possessing a firearm both by state law and federal law,” Sparks said Wednesday on MetroNews Talkline. “Under state law it would be a misdemeanor violation. Federal law it would be a felony violation.”
Maynard, 37, remains hospitalized after last week’s shooting. He’s charged with murder. The 59-year-old Crum was eating lunch in the parking lot near the Mingo County Courthouse when he was shot and killed.
Prosecutor Sparks says Maynard purchased the .40 pistol locally but he doesn’t believe the local gun dealer violated the law.
“At this juncture it doesn’t appear that the breakdown was at that point of the process,” Sparks said. “From a purely systematic protocol standpoint it appears the gun dealer (did) what was required under the law.”
The prosecutor says he’s been in touch with federal authorities and would anticipate U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin may also charge Maynard in connection with the case. Sparks plans to present the case to a grand jury within a few weeks.
Sparks says there’s no doubt Maynard should not have never been able to purchase the gun.
“There was a breakdown in the system, I can confirm that,” he said.