Murder trial gets underway for Duke lacrosse accuser - WNCT

Murder trial gets underway for Duke lacrosse accuser

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DURHAM, N.C. -

The murder trial for Crystal Mangum, the woman who falsely accused three Duke Lacrosse players of rape and who is now charged with the murder of her boyfriend, began Tuesday.

Mangum is accused of stabbing Reginald Daye to death during a domestic dispute April 3, 2011 at his apartment in Durham. She has claimed that she stabbed her boyfriend in self-defense. Mangum is also charged with larceny. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The trial in Durham County Superior Court is expected to take about five to seven days. Judge Paul Ridgeway of Wake County told potential jurors the trial could potentially continue into the week of Thanksgiving or after.

Prior to the start of jury selection, Judge Ridgeway heard several pretrial motions from defense attorney Daniel Meier.

Mangum's defense asked the judge to continue the case because of an ongoing investigation into state pathologist Dr. Clay Nichols, who is scheduled to be a witness in the case. The State Bureau of Investigation is conducting an investigation of Dr. Nichols at the request of Orange and Chatham County District Attorney Jim Woodall. The investigation began September 26 looking into allegations that Dr. Nichols mishandled evidence. Judge Ridgeway denied the motion based on what he learned by looking into the SBI investigation

Meier then questioned Nichols' status as an expert witness. Judge Ridgeway said they would take up that issue later on in the trial.

The defense also wanted personnel records of Nichols to see what led up to the investigation. Charlene Coggins-Franks, assistant district attorney, said the state has already said they would not grant that.

Meier asked state for Mangum's mental health evaluations from the Duke Lacrosse case. Franks said the prosecution is not planning to bring up the Duke case. Meier said he is concerned the mental health evaluation may come up if Mangum testifies and he doesn't want her thrown off.

The defense does not have her mental health records from that case because she was a victim in that case. The prosecution said they haven't looked through the Duke files and doesn't even know where the files are kept. Judge Ridgeway denied the motion, but said he will consider it as the trial moves forward and the relevance of the Duke case becomes clear.

The state's witness lists includes 91 people, including 38 from the Durham Police Department. The defense witness list includes 35 names.

Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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