Local News

Jury finds former Duke lacrosse accuser guilty in domestic dispute

Posted December 17, 2010 2:24 p.m. EST
Updated December 17, 2010 11:30 p.m. EST

— A jury on Friday convicted Crystal Mangum, the Durham woman who falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of rape in 2006, on most charges related to a February domestic dispute.

Meanwhile, Superior Court Judge Abraham Jones declared a mistrial on an arson charge against Mangum – the most serious charge she faced – when jurors deadlocked and said they couldn't reach a unanimous verdict after hours of deliberations.

The jury foreperson, Shauna Mitchell, said the jury was split 9-3 not guilty on the arson charge. Mitchell said she thought the charges were excessive given the evidence.

Mangum was found guilty of three counts of child abuse, injury to personal property and resisting a public officer. Jones sentenced her to 88 days in jail, which she has already served while awaiting trial.

"I'm the only parent my children have ever known," she told the judge before sentencing, asking that she be able to see the children while prosecutors decide whether to retry the arson case.

The charges stemmed from a Feb. 18 incident in which police said she assaulted her boyfriend, Milton Walker, threatened to stab him and set some of his clothes on fire.

Mangum maintained that the pair had an argument and that he hit her, prompting one of her three children to call 911. In September, Walker backed up her story, saying he was responsible for the burned clothes and damage to their home, but he wasn't called as a witness during the trial.

Mangum declined to comment after the case.

As the jury deliberated and asked questions about the law, someone in the courtroom muttered "this is ridiculous," prompting Jones to hold an impromptu contempt hearing.

Deputies in the courtroom fingered Jackie Wagstaff for the statement. She is a former member of the Durham County Board of Education and the Durham City Council, and she is a Mangum supporter.

Deputies said Wagstaff and other Mangum supporters were disruptive throughout the two-week trial.

Although Wagstaff told Jones that her comment wasn't directed at Jones or the courtroom proceedings and apologized for any misunderstanding, Jones found her in contempt. He ordered her jailed for 10 days and fined her $200.