Sheriff slaying suspect bought gun despite check - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Sheriff slaying suspect bought gun despite check

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WILLIAMSON (AP) -

A prosecutor says the man accused of killing a West Virginia sheriff wasn't allowed to possess a firearm. But the man was still able to buy a gun from a local dealer, even though the dealer ran the required background check.

Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks says a breakdown in the reporting system enabled Tennis Melvin Maynard to purchase the gun. Sparks calls it "an inexcusable delay."

While Sparks wouldn't elaborate on why Maynard was barred from owning a gun, Maynard's father has said his son had mental problems and had previously been in an institution.

Federal law prohibits the sale of firearms and ammunition to certain individuals with a history of mental illness.

Maynard is accusing of shooting Sheriff Eugene Crum as the lawman ate lunch April 3 in a downtown Williamson parking lot.

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