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Former W.Va. Supreme Court Justice Maynard dies

Charleston Gazette file photo  Spike Maynard
Charleston Gazette file photo
Spike Maynard

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Elliott E. “Spike” Maynard, a former state Supreme Court justice and circuit judge in Mingo County, died on Thursday. He was 71.

Charleston Area Medical Center spokesman Dale Witte confirmed Maynard’s death late Thursday. Maynard had been on a ventilator at CAMC Memorial Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit since April 6, according to a Facebook page dedicated to updating people on his health status.

It was unclear Thursday what health issues Maynard faced, and Witte said he couldn’t elaborate. Maynard’s girlfriend, Karen Cross, told radio host Hoppy Kercheval on Thursday morning that Maynard was very sick and not accepting visitors, but she hoped he would recover.

Maynard was a Supreme Court justice for one 12-year term, from 1996 to 2008, and served several terms as chief justice. He was perhaps best known for the controversy that erupted after he voted in 2007 as part of a 3-2 majority in favor of overturning a multimillion-dollar verdict against Massey Energy. Shortly after that vote, photographs showing Maynard and Massey CEO Don Blankenship vacationing together in Europe became public. Maynard recused himself from the case, and justices voted unanimously to rehear the appeal.

In 2008, Maynard lost his re-election bid for the Supreme Court. A Democrat for most of his life, he then switched to the Republican Party and unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., for the state’s 3rd District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I’m incredibly sad to learn of the passing of Justice Maynard.

Spike was a true West Virginian, a brilliant legal mind and a champion of the conservative cause,” said West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas. “Several years ago, Spike took a political risk to join the Republican Party and quickly became part of our team. There is no doubt he paved the way for others to follow in his footsteps…

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