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Mangum faces felony charges

Crystal Gail Mangum, the woman who falsely accused three members of the men’s lacrosse team of rape in 2006, was arrested early Thursday after a fight with her boyfriend.

Durham Police Department officers responded to a 911 call about a domestic dispute at 11:55 p.m. Wednesday and found Mangum, 31, attacking Milton Walker, 33, by scratching, punching and throwing objects at him, according to court documents. Mangum also set Walker’s clothes on fire in a bathtub.

“I’m gonna stab you motherf- !!!,” Mangum said to Walker, a court document states.

Mangum faces charges including attempted murder, arson and assault. She is currently being held in the Durham County Jail on $1 million bond.

Police officers called the Durham Fire Department to the red brick duplex at 2220 Lincoln St. after Mangum set the fire, according to a news release from the Durham Fire Department. Firefighters responded to the scene at 12:14 a.m., at which time they saw light smoke emanating from the building. The apartment, located across the street from North Carolina Central University’s School of Education, sustained heavy smoke damage, the release states.

Mangum’s three children, ages three, nine and 10, were home at the time of the altercation, but were not injured. The nine-year-old made the 911 call that brought police to the apartment, according to a recording of the call obtained by ABC News.

Two people can be heard yelling in the background as the child tells the dispatcher that her mother is involved in a fight.

When DPD officers H.P. Thompson and John Tyler attempted to arrest Mangum, she resisted and gave them a fake name, “Marella Magnum,” and fake date of birth, leading them to charge her with identity theft.

Mangum was booked at the Durham County Jail at 4:52 a.m. Thursday on charges of attempted first degree murder, five counts of first degree arson, assault and battery, identity theft, communicating a threat, injury to personal property, resisting a public officer and three counts of misdemeanor child abuse, jail documents state.

Mangum appeared in court Thursday morning and her next appearance is scheduled for Feb. 22, WRAL reported Thursday.

Thursday afternoon, the entrance to the duplex where the fight occurred was marked off with caution tape. A black Buick Park Avenue with flat tires and cracked windows sat in the driveway.

Mangum has faced legal trouble before. In 2002, she was jailed for larceny and driving while intoxicated.

In 2008, Mangum co-authored “The Last Dance for Grace,” a book about her life and the 2006 incident in which she falsely accused three Duke lacrosse players of raping her. In the book, Mangum maintains that a sexual assault occurred.

In a statement released Thursday, Mangum’s co-author and agent, Vincent Clark, expressed concern and support for Mangum while promoting the sale of her book.

“We take seriously any criminal charges that have been leveled,” Clark wrote. “We wish to reaffirm our belief in the ultimate fairness of the justice system. We hope that the courts will adjudicate this case with fairness and without bias. Nevertheless, we support Crystal in her effort to heal from abuse and past injustices.”

KC Johnson, a history professor at Brooklyn College and author of the Durham-in-Wonderland blog, which analyzes the effects of the lacrosse case, said he thinks the arrest further diminishes Mangum’s credibility. Still, he said he does not think the arrest will change the minds of those who think Mangum was sexually assaulted by the lacrosse players.

“My guess is that for the small minority, you know 5 or 10 percent or however much it is who still believed her three days ago, they’ll rationalize this in some way and continue to believe her,” he said. “If you’ve believed in Mangum’s story up until now, nothing is going to change your mind.”

In March 2006, Mangum was hired by Duke lacrosse players to dance at an off-campus party in a house on Buchanan Boulevard. Mangum, who was then an exotic dancer and a student at North Carolina Central University, accused three players of raping her in a bathroom at the party. Former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong pursued charges against the three lacrosse players, despite a lack of evidence and a mishandled investigation.

All charges against the players were ultimately dropped, and Nifong was disbarred and briefly jailed for his handling of the case.

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

“It just appears that nobody ever listened to who she really was... 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.”

University and athletics officials said they had no comment on Mangum’s arrest.


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