Christopher Ray McBride, 28, has a troubled past history that includes an eleven month prison sentence in 2003 for breaking and entering, embezzlement, assault, larceny and drug manufacturing. According to the News & Observer article of April 30, 2010, McBride was convicted in 2004 and 2005 of assaulting a female and resisting an officer, and served a probation sentence until April 2006. Most recently, he was scheduled for court this month on firearms possession and drug charges.
The April 30th N & O article titled “Father charged in blinding” states that Mr. McBride was jailed on a child abuse charge after he assaulted his 1 year-old daughter and left her permanently blind. The loss of the child’s sight as due to brain trauma she sustained at the base of her skull. Mr. McBride was not charged with attempted first degree murder, and his bail was initially set at $125,000.
Crystal Mangum, who allegedly scratched her boyfriend, on the other hand, is charged with attempted first degree murder in what her boyfriend described as a “misunderstanding.” Ms. Mangum used no weapons, inflicted no injuries, and yet she was saddled with a million dollar bail, and remains in jail after her arrest on February 18, 2010.
When her prosecutor obtained a grand jury indictment, the felony attempted first degree murder charge was not even considered. Also, the simple assault and battery misdemeanor charge was not acted upon by the grand jury. Neither the misdemeanor charge of communicating threats nor the felony charge of identity theft was entertained by the grand jury. And although many of the charges piled on Ms. Mangum at her arrest were not sought by prosecutors before the grand jury, her bail was reduced to $250,000 with the condition that if she were to raise the bond, she would be released from jail to remain under house arrest. Her bail has since been reduced to $100,000.
As has been stated previously, the selective and unjust treatment Ms. Mangum has endured from the police, prosecutors, and courts, is not unlike the abusive, excessive, and unjust treatment to which former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was subjected. The disparities in their sentences in comparison with others are the proximate result of their roles in the Duke Lacrosse case… Ms. Mangum, the accuser, and Mr. Nifong, the prosecutor.
The vendetta justice that ensnared Ms. Mangum is not unlike that which resulted in Alan Gell being given an extremely harsh five year prison sentence for a charge with circumstances that would have only netted others probation. Gell spent a decade wrongfully incarcerated, initially sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit. Prosecutor David Hoke withheld exculpatory evidence from Gell’s defense attorney in winning a capital murder conviction. And when Mr. Gell sought the legal retribution to which he was entitled, he incurred the wrath of the North Carolina justice system… and he now sits in prison, a victim of vendetta justice.
Both Crystal Mangum and Alan Gell should be immediately released from confinement. Neither of them is a flight risk or a danger to society. In fact, the charges against them both are drastically inflated and not worthy of incarceration. Their incarcerations, solely to quench the vindictive thirst of the North Carolina justice system and, in the case of Ms. Mangum, the Carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants, are exacting a toll on North Carolina taxpayers who must pay for their prison accommodations. The money used to keep them behind bars is money that could be better spent… for example, to help pay to defend the cash-strapped city of Durham from the civil lawsuits filed by the avaricious Carpetbagger families and their greedy attorneys.
Although their release makes sense on a financial level to taxpayers and North Carolina residents, their immediate release from custody is the right thing to do, it is the ethical thing to do, and it is what justice demands to be done. There is no place in a just justice system for vendettas.