ABOVE PHOTO: A tear runs down Crystal Mangum’s face as her verdict of being guilty of second-degree murder is read Friday Nov. 22, 2013 in the stabbing death of her boyfriend, Reginald Daye, in 2011. Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway sentenced Mangum to a minimum of 14 years and two months to a maximum of 18 years in prison.
(AP Photo/ The News & Observer, Chuck Liddy)
DURHAM, N.C. — The woman who falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of rape was convicted of second-degree murder Friday in the stabbing death of her boyfriend.
The jury deliberated for about six hours over two days before reaching its verdict in the trial of 34-year-old Crystal Mangum, who was sentenced to between 14 years and 18 years in prison.
Killed was 46-year-old Reginald Daye, who was stabbed on April 3, 2011. He died of complications 10 days later.
Mangum claimed the stabbing was a case of self-defense, saying Daye was beating her in a jealous rage when she grabbed a knife and “poked him in the side.”
Assistant District Attorney Charlene Franks told the jurors during closing arguments that the evidence did not back up Mangum’s story.
In 2006, Mangum falsely claimed Duke lacrosse players gang-raped her at a team party where she was hired as a stripper. The case caught the nation’s attention, as the coach was forced to resign and the university canceled the remainder of the season.
The three players arrested were eventually declared innocent by North Carolina’s attorney general after Mangum’s story crumbled and her mental stability was questioned. The Durham prosecutor, Mike Nifong, who championed Mangum’s case, was later disbarred.
The 2006 case raised larger issues, such as questions about prosecutorial power, according to The Christian Science Monitor.
“If you look at how American politics has developed in the last 20 years, there’s a consistent pattern of getting tough on crime, reducing civil liberties, and giving more power to prosecutors,” says Robert “KC” Johnson, a Brooklyn College professor who covered the Duke case through a daily blog. “This is really the first high profile event … where there’s been a very strong push by most people, regardless of ideology, in the other direction.”
Other legal experts say the Duke case is an isolated incident in which an overzealous and relatively inexperienced prosecutor was thrust into a high-profile case involving a black exotic dancer who accused three white university students of rape at a boozy off-campus party.
“It became a pressure cooker where the top blew off,” says Peg Dorer, director of the North Carolina District Attorneys’ Conference in Raleigh.