Duke lacrosse accuser charged with attempted murder, arson
Posted February 18, 2010
Updated February 22, 2010
Durham, N.C. — Durham police early Thursday arrested the woman who four years ago falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of raping her.
Crystal Mangum assaulted her boyfriend, set his clothes on fire in a bathtub and threatened to stab him, investigators said.
She was in the Durham County jail under a $1 million bond. Mangum, 33, has been appointed a public defender and is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 22.
Police charged her with attempted first-degree murder, five counts of arson, assault and battery, communicating threats, three counts of misdemeanor child abuse, injury to personal property, identity theft and resisting a public officer.
Shortly after 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, police received a 911 call about a domestic dispute at 2220 Lincoln St. Authorities said they believe the call came from one of the three children inside the house.
When officers arrived, they found Mangum and her boyfriend, Milton Walker, 33, fighting. According to police documents, Mangum scratched, punched and threw objects at Walker and told him, "I'm going to stab you, (expletive)!"
She then went into a bathroom and set his clothes on fire in the bathtub, police said. Officers called the fire department to put out the flames. No one was injured.
Milton was not charged, police said. The three children inside the house, ages 3, 9 and 10, were not injured.
Officers said Mangum gave them a fake name, "Marella Mangum," and age, prompting the identity theft charge. She also resisted the officers who responded to the scene, according to police documents. She has been ordered to have no contact with Walker.
Mangum – who penned her memoir, "Last Dance for Grace," in 2008 – was a student at North Carolina Central University in 2006 and also worked as an exotic dancer when she performed at the now-infamous Duke lacrosse party.
It was there, she claimed, that three white members of the team trapped her inside a bathroom and raped and sexually assaulted her.
The three players were indicted on rape and other charges on the basis of her allegations and were eventually exonerated after North Carolina's attorney general dismissed the charges.
The case ultimately cost former Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong his job and he was later disbarred. He also spent a night in jail for lying to a Superior Court judge.
Several players in the Duke lacrosse case, including Duke Unviersity and the North Carolina Attorney General's Office, declined to comment on the case.
Nifong could not be reached for comment.
"My heart goes out to her," Joseph Cheshire, who represented one of the accused lacrosse players. "Mostly, I worry about her children."
Authorities say the children are in the care of other family members.
"We hope that the courts will adjudicate this case with fairness and without bias," Vincent Clark, Mangum's publisher, said in a statement. "Nevertheless, we support Crystal in her effort o heal from abuse and past injustices,"