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Former WV Supreme Court Justice Elliott "Spike" Maynard Dies At 71

Reported: May. 1, 2014 9:47 PM EDT
Updated: May. 2, 2014 12:07 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Heath Harrison) -- Former West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Elliott “Spike” Maynard has died. He was 71.

Maynard had been in Charleston Area Medical Center’s Memorial Hospital since April 6. A spokesperson for CAMC confirmed Maynard passed away on Thursday.

Maynard, a longtime fixture in Mingo County politics, served as prosecuting attorney for the county from 1976 to 1981, and as judge on the 30th Judicial Circuit from 1981 to 1997.

In 1996, he was elected to a 12-year term on the West Virginia Supreme Court and served as chief justice.

He was defeated in his bid for re-election to the high court in 2008, after photos surfaced of him on vacation on the French Riviera with Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. Blankenship had business in front of the court at the time.

In 2010, Maynard switched his registration from Democrat to Republican in an unsuccessful bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall in West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District. Maynard waged a vigorous campaign and gave Rahall one of the strongest challenges of his career.

After leaving the Supreme Court, Maynard served as a senior status justice, presiding in circuit court cases in which a sitting circuit judge was recused.

West Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Robin Davis reacted to the news of Maynard's death.

“I’m devastated at the loss of one of the best friends I’ll ever have," Davis said in a statement. "His charm and wit, his grace and kindness, his wisdom and insight – life just won’t be the same.”

West Virginia Republican Party chair Conrad Lucas paid tribute to Maynard.

"I'm incredibly sad to learn of the passing of Justice Maynard," Lucas said in a statement. "Spike was a true West Virginian, a brilliant legal mind and a champion of the conservative cause. From his time fighting crime as a prosecutor to his days steadying our Supreme Court, Spike held high the concept of justice and worked to pull this state up at every turn."



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