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Mangum released from house arrest

An attorney for Crystal Mangum asked that the conditions of his client's release be relaxed so that she can work and take care of her critically ill mother.

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Crystal Mangum
DURHAM, N.C. — A Superior Court judge on Monday released from house arrest a Durham woman accused of threatening to stab her boyfriend and setting his clothes on fire.

An attorney for Crystal Mangum asked that the conditions of his client's release be relaxed so that she can work and take care of her critically ill mother.

Mangum, known for falsely accusing three Duke University lacrosse players of rape in 2006, was arrested Feb. 18 on a charge of 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.

Durham police said she assaulted her boyfriend, Milton Walker, but Mangum has claimed that the pair had an argument and that he hit her, prompting one of her three children to call 911.

She was released from jail in May under a $100,000 bond and has been on house arrest at a friend's home since then.

Judge Michael Morgan ordered that Mangum be released from house arrest and that she move in with her mother. She will remain on an electronic monitoring system, which will allow her to leave home for work.

Morgan also ruled that she could have supervised visitation with her three children, ages 10, 9 and 3 after social services approved the visits. Original conditions of her bond prohibited contact with them and Walker.

Also on Monday, Mangum's attorney, Clayton Jones, asked to withdraw from the case, saying he felt a group Mangum has been working with has second-guessed his decisions and because she spoke to the media against his advice.

Morgan allowed the request and appointed Mangum a new public defender.

That group, Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, held a news conference last month in which Mangum said she felt that she's not being treated fairly because of her involvement in the Duke rape case.

"I am being unfairly treated due to preconceived notions that people had about me concerning another case," Mangum said.

Prosecutors and Durham police have declined to comment on that claim.

Mangum had no comment Monday.

While a student at North Carolina Central University in March 2006, Mangum worked as a stripper and performed at a party hosted by members of the Duke lacrosse team. She claimed three white players trapped her inside a bathroom at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. and raped and sexually assaulted her.

Mike Nifong, Durham County's district attorney at the time, had the three players indicted on rape and other charges on the basis of Mangum's allegations, but the case later began to crumble with her wavering in key details of her story.

That forced Nifong to dismiss the rape charges, and several months later, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed the remaining charges, saying there was no credible evidence to support the charges.

Nifong was later disbarred for withholding DNA evidence from defense attorneys in the case.

The Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong is seeking to have Nifong's law license reinstated, saying his treatment was excessively harsh and unjust from Cooper and the North Carolina State Bar.

Meanwhile, the house at 610 N. Buchanan stands no more. Duke University, which purchased it and several others several months before the March party, had it demolished on Monday.


Erin Hartness, Reporter
Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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