(Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series)
Eight months ago, former Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum was shot and killed at point-blank range while seated in his cruiser eating lunch in a parking lot on Third Avenue. Since that time, many rumors have surfaced about alleged wrongdoings of the sheriff, and his name has been listed in a multitude of federal documents linking him to cases of political corruption in the county.
In an exclusive interview with the Williamson Daily News, Rosie Crum, the widow of the slain sheriff, broke her silence to come to the defense of her late husband in an effort to, in her words, “set the record straight.”
This is her story, in her words, based on information and documentation that she provided.
At the beginning of the interview, Crum provided copies of the official autopsy results for the sheriff that also contained his toxicology report.
“First of all, I want people to know that my husband did not, in any manner, abuse drugs,” Crum said. “He was on two medications prescribed by his physician and this report proves just that.”
The toxicology report states that no alcohol was detected and further stated that two prescribed medications, Sertraline and Aminoclanazepam were detected in Crum’s body, both well within the therapeutic range consistent with non-abuse of the drugs.
“Eugene has fought drugs all his life. Ever since the day he became an officer, his main goal was to arrest the ones selling drugs and ruining lives in this county,” Crum said.
“I cannot understand for one second why the word of a known drug dealer who operated a pharmacy out of his house and business would be believed over that of a police officer who made more drug arrests in his short time in office than what has been done in years,” she added.
“That’s unbelievable, it shocks me to no end,” the sheriff’s widow said.
Crum was referring to allegations made by George White, who was indicted earlier this year on drug-related charges and who told federal investigators that he had sold prescription drugs to the late sheriff, while he was serving as magistrate. White also alleged that he was targeted by the late sheriff because he owed him a debt of $3,000 for campaign materials he had purchased from the defendant’s sign business.
“Eugene never bought drugs from George, that is the truth,” said the grieving widow. “I’m so sick of hearing this when I know good and well it never happened. George had made comments in the past that he knew Eugene wouldn’t arrest him because they were friends, and he found out wrong. If you dealt drugs, my husband didn’t care who you were, he would arrest you. An example of that is that he arrested his own nephews, as well as mine. He didn’t cut anyone slack when it came to that,” Crum said.
“As far as owing George $3,000, I have the canceled check that was deposited by him into his account on Feb. 4, 2012, from my husband’s campaign funds. We paid George $3,900 for the campaign materials we bought from him. He was not the only business we used for these items, and I can prove everything I’m saying. We owed him nothing.”
Crum then produced a copy of the front and back of a check made payable to White’s Signs, signed by Walter (Eugene) Crum, dated Feb. 4, 2012, that was deposited by White into his business account on Feb. 6, 2012. A picture of the check will appear along with the second part of this story that will be featured in Thursday’s edition of the Williamson Daily News.
“I feel that since Eugene was killed and is not here to defend himself, he’s the scapegoat for every county official that needs to blame something on another. I feel like they’re all saying,”Let’s blame it on Eugene, he’s not here to defend himself; he can’t say it’s not true,” Crum said.
“Well, that’s true, but I am here and I can promise you that I will defend my husband’s name until the day I draw my last breath,” she added.
“I’ve been silent long enough. It’s time to share the truth with the people of Mingo County who loved and trusted Eugene enough to elect him as sheriff. They deserve to hear my story,” she said.
In Thursday’s edition of the Daily News, Crum’s interview will continue as she speaks about the firing and rehiring of Deputy Arthur Farra, her feelings surrounding her husband’s murder and the devastating effect these events have had on her life, as well as those of her family members.