Friday, January 7, 2011

Duke lacrosse accuser charged with attempted murder of "boyfriend", convicted on misdemeanor counts

(Original post 2-19-10)
The Duke Lacrosse accuser has been charged with serious offenses of her own, including arson and the attempted murder of her "boyfriend." 31 year old Crystal Mangum attacked her "boyfriend" and set his clothes on fire while her three children were inside, according to an arrest warrant handed out Wednesday night.

According to the arrest warrant, Mangum scratched, punched, and threatened her "boyfriend," Milton Walker after he decided to break up with her. Mangum's 9 year old daughter called 911.

After picking up the remains of his clothes, the victim said, "I don't know what she was thinking, sometimes she does things without thinking...I believe Crystal is a good person, so there's no problem. We were friends before so I hope everything works out for the best,"

In March 2006, Mangum accused three Duke lacrosse players of raping her at a party where she was hired to strip. The case gained national attention. In April 2007, all charges were dropped by Attorney General Roy Cooper. The case also led to Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong being disbarred. Mangum later released a book entitled "The Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story."

Mangum is currently being held on $1 million bond. Her official charges are 5 counts of arson, 3 counts of misdemeanor child abuse, attempted first degree murder, assault and battery, identification theft, communicating a threat, injury to personal property, and resisting [a] public officer.

(Update 1-7-11 - mistrial on arson charges) Last month on December 16, Mangum was found guilty of injury to personal property, child abuse, and resisting an officer. Superior Court Judge Abe Jones sentenced her to 88 days in jail - time she had already served. Jurors deadlocked 9 to 3 in favor of a non guilty verdict on the 1st degree arson charge. Three of those jurors believed Mangum was guilty of being reckless in setting fire to the "boyfriend"'s clothing.

Supporter Victoria Peterson reiterated a claim by the Friends of Crystal Mangum that authorities were punishing Mangum for accusing Duke lacrosse players of rape in 2006. Mangum was retaliating against her boyfriend, Milton Walker, for allegedly punching her in the face; Walker was never charged. "It's a victory," Peterson said of the judge and jury's decisions.

Over the past 10 months, Peterson and others have complained about Mangum's treatment, which included an attempted murder charge, $1 million bond, the 88 days in jail and a no-contact order with her children."There did seem to be a lot of severe charges for what the evidence showed," said jury forewoman Shauna Mitchell.

Meanwhile, Durham County prosecutor Mark McCullough will decide later this month whether to retry Mangum on the 1st degree arson count.

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