Former Duke lacrosse accuser convicted of murder

The woman who incited a national scandal in 2006 when she accused Duke University lacrosse players of rape has been convicted of second-degree murder in the death of her boyfriend.

A North Carolina judge sentenced Crystal Mangum, 34, to between 14 and 18 years in prison on Friday. In 2011, Mangum stabbed her boyfriend, 46-year-old Reginald Daye, who died of complications 10 days later.

In 2006, Mangum acussed three Duke lacrosse players of raping her after she went to their house working as a stripper. The case captured the nation’s attention, exposing racial and socioeconomic divides not just at the elite university, but across the country.


Mangum, who is black, was enrolled at the historically black North Carolina Central University, and the three men accused were white and attended a prestigious private university that was not integrated until the 1960s.

While Duke typically attracts students more familiar to schools in the Northeast, its Southern home in Durham is made up of mostly blue-collar workers. As cited frequently by the media during the court proceedings, the yearly tuition at Duke at the time was about $43,000, while the 2000 census put the the median household income in Durham at $41,160.

Throughout the case, the Duke players maintained they were innocent.

“You have all been told some fantastic lies, and I look forward to watching them unravel in the weeks to come, as they already have in weeks past.... The truth will come out,” lacrosse player David Evans said after he was indicted.

The case did slowly fall apart as DNA evidence failed to tie Mangum to any of the 46 white players on the team. She eventually recanted her statement and said she was not sure she had been raped, although she insisted some sort of sexual assault had taken place.

In court, defense lawyers revealed that the prosecuting attorney and the lab director had withheld evidence that showed that the DNA on Mangum’s body did not match the defendants, and that it matched other men. The defense claimed that the district attorney who was prosecuting violated police policy by using a photo lineup that showed photos only of lacrosse players and did not mix in other men.

“She was, in effect, given a multiple choice test in which there were no wrong answers,” a defense motion said.

The district attorney withdrew from the case, resigned and was disbarred.

The North Carolina attorney general took over the case, and after a 12-week examination he dropped all charges against the defendants. Evans, who was indicted the day after he graduated from Duke, said the case Mangum brought against him and the other defendants had taken them “to hell and back.”

“No other witness confirms her story,” Atty. Gen. Roy Cooper said at a crowded news conference. “Other evidence contradicts her story. She contradicts herself.”

In the recent case, Mangum said she stabbed her boyfriend in self-defense after he threw knives at her, but in interviews before he died, he said that she stabbed him several times, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. Photographic and blood evidence didn’t match up with Mangum’s story, the jury decided.

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Twitter: @skarlamangla