Local News

Bond reduced for Duke lacrosse accuser

Posted February 22, 2010 12:47 p.m. EST
Updated February 22, 2010 6:23 p.m. EST

— A judge on Monday cut the bond for the woman who four years ago falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of raping her after prosecutors agreed to the lower amount.

Crystal Mangum was arrested last Thursday and charged 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.

Police said she assaulted her boyfriend, Milton Walker, set his clothes on fire in a bathtub and threatened to stab him.

Bond was initially set at $1 million, but District Judge Claude Allen lowered it to $250,000, an amount agreed to by prosecutors and public defender Lawrence Campbell.

Allen also prohibited Mangum from contacting Walker and said she would remain on house arrest if she posts bond.

Mangum wasn't in court Monday for the brief hearing.

Investigators said they believe one of three children inside 2220 Lincoln St. last Wednesday night called 911 to report a domestic dispute. When officers arrived, they found Mangum and Walker fighting.

According to police documents, Mangum scratched, punched and threw objects at Walker and cursed at him. She then went into a bathroom and set his clothes on fire in the bathtub, police said.

The children, ages 3, 9 and 10, weren't injured in the incident.

While a student at North Carolina Central University in 2006, Mangum worked as an exotic dancer and she performed at the now-infamous party for Duke lacrosse team members. She claimed three white players 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, but they were eventually exonerated after North Carolina's attorney general dismissed the charges.

The case 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.

In 2008, Mangum wrote a book about her experience, called "Last Dance for Grace," with author Vincent Clark. He visited her in jail last week, and he was in court Monday.

"I've tried as hard as I could to put her in a position where she could better herself and make a better life for her children," he said. "I think it's important that somebody be around to support her, as this process is really difficult for anybody, especially for her under the circumstances."

Clark said he had thought Mangum was doing well in recent months. She had graduated with honors from N.C. Central and was pursuing a master's degree in psychology, he said.

Still, he said, he feels like she continues to deal with the fallout of being the central figure in the Duke lacrosse case.

"I don't think I've ever seen her that bad," he said of visiting her in jail. "She was really sad."