Woman Who Accused Duke Lacrosse Players of Rape Charged With Murder

The woman who falsely accused three Duke lacrosse players of raping her in 2006, is one again  in the news.  Crystal Mangum, 33, was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder and two counts of larceny.  On April 3 of this year, police in Raleigh, North Carolina, arrested Mangum and charged her with assault in the stabbing of her boyfriend, Reginald Daye.  Unfortunately, Daye, 46, died two weeks later, April 13th, at a hospital.

In 2006, Mangum falsely accused three  lacrosse players of raping her at a party in which she had been hired to perform as a stripper.  This case heightened long-standing tensions in the Durham area about race, class and the privileged status of college athletes.  North Carolina’s attorney general declared the player’s innocent after the district attorney, Mike Nifong,  who championed Mangum’s claims was later disbarred.  Prosecutors declined to press charges for the false accusations in the 2006 case.

Unfortunately for Mangum, her legal problems have continued.

She was convicted last year on misdemeanor charges after setting a fire that nearly torched her home with her three children inside. She had, according to a police interrogation, been in a confrontation with her boyfriend at the time and burned his clothes, smashed his car windshield and threatened to stab him.  The boyfriend in this confrontation was not Daye.

Mangum has never recovered from the stigma brought by the lacrosse case, said friends, and has made a string of questionable relationships in an attempt to provide stability for her children.  One friend, Vincent Clark, said he hopes that she isn’t judged rashly, which echoes one of the oft-cited lessons of the lacrosse case itself.  Clark also said Mangum realizes that she has mental problems.  “I’m sad for her.  I hope people realize how difficult it is being her,” Clark said.

A nephew of Dayes spoke to a 911 dispatcher after the stabbing and he referenced the notoriety that Mangum still carries.  “It’s Crystal Mangum.  THE Crystal Mangum,” said the nephew.  “I told him she was trouble  from the damn beginning.”

On May 1, her attorney withdrew from her defense saying she had compromised the case by sharing information with supporters.  “The truth will set Crystal Mangum free,” said Sidney Harr, of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, which held a press conference outside the Durham County jail.

According to this committee, they are just trying to protect Mangum from a corrupt judicial system that is punishing her for the 2006 case in which she accused three Duke lacrosse players of rape.  Harr said that her murder charge should be dismissed as she stabbed Daye in self-defense after he punched her, dragged her by her hair, kicked down a locked bathroom door, and continued to abuse her.

Chris Shella, Mangum’s attorney, said Mangum provided supporters with documents and information that he told her to keep confidential. “These individuals have disclosed these documents to the general public along with the potential defense theory of the case,” Shella said in a motion to be removed from the case.  Shella’s request of removal was granted by Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith.

Mangum remains in jail under $200,000 bail.

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