Local News

Defense: Slain man dragged Mangum by hair, held her down

Posted November 14, 2013 12:50 p.m. EST
Updated November 14, 2013 4:58 p.m. EST

— Crystal Mangum stabbed her boyfriend two years ago after he dragged her out of the bathroom in their Durham apartment during an argument and held her down to stop her from calling police, a defense attorney said Thursday.

Mangum is charged with murder in the April 3, 2011, stabbing of Reginald Daye. He died 10 days later of complications at Duke University Hospital.

Mangum, 34, and Daye, 46, had been dating for about a month.

She maintains the stabbing was a case of self-defense, and Daniel Meier, her attorney, told jurors in his opening statement that Daye wouldn't let her leave the apartment during a heated argument.

Meier said witnesses will testify that Daye told them he locked the apartment door to block her exit and held Mangum down until she calmed down. When she tried to hide in the bathroom, he kicked the door in, dragged her out by her hair and again held her down, thinking she was trying to call the police for help, Meier told the seven-man, five-woman jury.

Mangum then stabbed Daye once in the side with a kitchen knife, according to Meier.

Daye's nephew, Carlos Wilson, testified that Daye showed up at his apartment a short time later and told him Mangum had stabbed him. Wilson said he called 911 and used a towel to stanch the bleeding until paramedics arrived.

"He was gasping for air. He was scared," Wilson testified. "I tried to calm him down."

In the 911 call, which was played in court Thursday afternoon, Wilson told the dispatcher that "THE Crystal Mangum" had stabbed his uncle, adding "I told him she was trouble from the very beginning."

Mangum made national headlines in March 2006 when she claimed that three players on the Duke University lacrosse team trapped her inside a bathroom at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., where she was performing as a stripper at a team party, and raped and sexually assaulted her.

Her story about the incident was so inconsistent that Attorney General Roy Cooper later declared the players innocent, saying there was no credible evidence against them.

Prosecutors are prohibited from mentioning the Duke lacrosse case during the trial, with the possible exception of challenging Mangum's credibility as a witness.

Daye met Mangum while serving jury duty during her December 2010 trial in a domestic case involving a previous boyfriend, Wilson testified before Meier objected to jurors hearing that information.

Carlos Wilson and Hasan Wilson, Daye's cousin, said they never saw Daye and Mangum arguing. Hasan Wilson said the couple was flirting in the back seat when he drove them home from a family party a few hours before the stabbing.

"Reggie was more of a lover than a fighter," Carlos Wilson said. "The relationships that he was in prior, he was the abused and they (other girlfriends) were the abusers. We used to joke a lot about women beating him up."

Several Durham police officers testified Thursday afternoon that they found Daye back in his apartment, where a knife was broken off in a sofa cushion. Carlos Wilson told one investigator that Daye told him he and Mangum had argued over rent money and that Mangum left with some cash after the stabbing.

Officers found Mangum at a nearby house, where one said she appeared to be intoxicated and was trying to sleep.

The recordings of three other 911 calls in the case were played for jurors including one from Mangum – she hung up after telling a dispatcher, "A guy was beating me up, and I stabbed him" – and one from her son. Mangum wept in court as jurors heard the child say, "My mom was trying to defend herself."

James Williams, a former Durham County detention officer, testified that Mangum also called him that night. The two had become friends while she was in jail earlier, he said.

"She was crying hysterically, and she called and said that her boyfriend jumped on her, and she stabbed him to get him off of her," Williams said. "I panicked myself hearing the news. ... I told her she needs to go back to the scene and call 911 to get help."