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Lacrosse accuser Mangum charged with attempted murder and arson

Crystal Gail Mangum
Crystal Gail Mangum

Updated at 6:18 p.m.

Crystal Gail Mangum, the woman who falsely accused three Duke lacrosse players of rape in 2006, has been arrested on attempted murder, arson and assault charges.

Mangum was arrested by Durham police officers after they responded to a 911 call late Wednesday night about a domestic dispute, according to a Durham Police Department news release. Police said Mangum was fighting with her boyfriend, Milton Walker, and threatened to stab him. She also set his clothes on fire in a bathtub, WRAL reported.

Mangum said, "I'm gonna stab you [expletive]!!!" to Walker, according to court documents.

Mangum resisted and gave officers a fake name when they arrested her, court documents state.

Police officers called the Durham Fire Department after Mangum set the fire, according to a news release from the fire department. Firefighters responded to the scene at 12:14 a.m., at which time they saw light smoke emanating from the red brick home. The dwelling sustained heavy smoke damage, the release states.

Three children, ages 3, 9 and 10, were in the home at the time of the incident but were not injured. One of the children called police, WRAL reported.

Mangum is charged with attempted first degree murder, five counts of first degree arson, assault and battery, identification theft, communicating a threat, injury to personal property, resisting a public officer and three counts of misdemeanor child abuse. She was jailed at 4:52 a.m. Thursday and had a 9:00 a.m. court appearance.

Thursday afternoon, Mangum remained in the Durham County jail on $1 million bond.

Joe Cheshire, who represented David Evans, Trinity '06 and one of the three wrongly-accused players, said Mangum's arrest is sad and further shows the falsity of her claims against the players.

"From the first time in the lacrosse case, all of us knew that Crystal Mangum was a really troubled lady... and it just appears that nobody every listened to who she really was, the troubled nature of her soul, and nobody every tried to heal her, they just used her for their own purposes," he said. "On the other hand, of course, it helps demonstrate the false accusations that were made against my client and all the lacrosse players, and it lends even more power to the argument of their innocence and to the absurdity of those people who continue to try to say that something improper happened in that house on that evening."

Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, said Duke has no comment on Mangum's arrest. Assistant Sports Information Director Meredith Rieder said no one involved with the lacrosse team has any comment.

The Chronicle will continue to follow this developing story. Please check back here and on our Twitter for updates throughout the day.

In 2006, Mangum was an exotic dancer and a student at North Carolina Central University when she performed at a Duke lacrosse party in a small white house on N. Buchanan Blvd.

It was at that March spring break party that Mangum reported being raped by three members of the Duke lacrosse team.

In December 2006, Mike Nifong, who was then Durham district attorney, dropped the rape charges against the falsely-accused players. Shortly after, Nifong recused himself from the case.

In April 2007, N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that the three lacrosse players were innocent of all charges and criticized Nifong's handling of the case. Nifong was ultimately disbarred and briefly jailed for his handling of the case.

Mangum briefly reentered the media spotlight in 2008, after releasing a book maintaining that she was sexually assaulted at the 2006 lacrosse team party.

Corrected. An earlier version of this article stated an incorrect time for the arrival of firefighters at 2220 Lincoln St. The time has been corrected to reflect new information received from the Durham Fire Department.


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