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Crystal Gail Mangum (born July 18, 1978) is an African-American woman who is best known for making false allegations of rape against white lacrosse players in the racially charged Duke lacrosse case. As of April 2011, she is being held on murder charges related to a fatal attack on her boyfriend.
Mangum was born and grew up in Durham, North Carolina, to a father who drove trucks. In 1993, at age 14, she claimed to have been kidnapped by three assailants, driven to Creedmoor, North Carolina, and raped. One of those she accused was her boyfriend, who was 21 at the time. She filed a police report making these allegations in late 1996. She subsequently backed away from the charges, a move relatives claimed was motivated by fear for her life. Mangum's father says he does not believe any such incident occurred involving force, though her mother believes a similar incident could have occurred- but three years later rather than in 1993.
After graduation from high school in 1996, she joined the U.S. Navy. She served for less than two years before being discharged from the service after becoming pregnant.
By 2002 Mangum had returned to Durham and was working as a stripper. In 2003, she was arrested on ten charges after stealing the taxicab of a customer to whom she had given a lap dance. This prompted a police pursuit at moderate speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, though occasionally in the wrong lane. After being stopped, she attempted to run over a police officer, succeeding only in hitting his patrol vehicle. She was found to have a BAC of just over twice the legal limit. Ultimately, she pleaded guilty on four counts, serving three weekends in jail, paying $4,200 in restitution and fees, and being given two years probation.
After arriving, intoxicated, with a fellow stripper for a strip tease at a house rented by three of the Duke University men's lacrosse team captains, she became involved in an argument with the occupants of the house, and left. After becoming involved in an altercation with her fellow stripper that necessitated police assistance, she made a false allegation of rape. District Attorney Mike Nifong, up for reelection, pursued the case despite questions about the credibility of Mangum, and exculpatory evidence that failed to demonstrate that Mangum had been raped by the Duke lacrosse players. It took nearly a year for the attorney-general's office to dismiss the charges and declare that the players were innocent of the charges laid against them by Nifong.
Just before midnight on February 17, 2010, Durham police were called to Mangum's residence by her nine-year-old daughter. When they arrived, they said they found Mangum and her live-in boyfriend fighting. They said she set fire to some of his clothing in a bathtub in their presence. The building suffered heavy smoke damage. They arrested Mangum on charges of attempted murder, first-degree arson, assault and battery, identity theft, communicating threats, damage to property, resisting an officer, and misdemeanor child abuse.
Mangum was ordered to remain in jail on $1 million bond. Her bond was lowered to $100,000 in May, and she was released from jail to live in a friend's house. She was required to wear an electronic monitoring device. On July 12, 2010, she was released from house arrest and required to move in with her mother. She was allowed to visit her three children but only under supervision of social services. Mangum was arrested again on August 25, 2010, and held on $150,000 bond for failure to comply with the restrictions on her child visitation order.
On December 17, 2010, Mangum was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, injury to personal property and resisting a public officer. The jury deadlocked 9-3 for not guilty on the felony arson charge but was unable to reach a decision on it. After the verdict, Judge Abe Jones sentenced Mangum to 88 days in jail, which she had already served, and left the custody decision in the hands of social services. Durham Assistant District Attorney Mark McCullough announced on January 21, 2011, that he would not retry Mangum on arson charges.
Mangum was arrested on April 2, 2011, following accusations that she stabbed and seriously injured her boyfriend. She was charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious bodily injury, a class C felony in North Carolina. Her boyfriend later died in the hospital, and Mangum was indicted on a murder charge. As of April 19, Mangum was being held in jail under a $300,000 secured bail bond, which was set prior to her boyfriend's death. In November, Mangum was deemed competent to stand trial for murder. On May 1, 2012, Mangum's attorney withdrew citing the release by Mangum of confidential information regarding her case to her supporters. As of 2013, Mangum is acting as her own attorney. On February 20, 2013, Mangum was released on bail until trial.