Sunday, July 8, 2012
The only thing Crystal Mangum took from Reginald Daye was a beating
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Word count: 3,273
As problematic as the first degree murder charge is against Crystal Mangum, the Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser, the two count charge of larceny that she also faces stretches the already excessive bounds of incredulity even further by using a little known, rarely used law… North Carolina General Statute § 14-75 Larceny in chose of action.
First, to review the abject flaws in the first degree murder charge… Crystal Mangum was arrested on the morning of Sunday, April 3, 2011, hours after Reginald Daye, a man in his mid-forties with whom she had cohabitated for approximately one month, sustained a non-fatal stab wound to his left torso.
Durham Police, whose investigation into the stabbing resulted solely from accounts given by Mr. Daye and his nephew Carlos Wilson, suggested that Daye and Mangum were arguing over money, that Mangum stabbed Daye with a kitchen knife, grabbed his money, and then fled.
Investigators did note at Daye’s apartment, where the incident took place, that clumps of hair most likely belonging to Mangum were deposited at two sites, and that the bathroom door was kicked in.
Objective information readily accessible also included the fact that Daye had a stuporous alcohol blood level of 296 mg/dL, and a background check would have yielded that he had a lengthy past criminal record that included assault of a female.
Review of the EMS evaluation of Mangum would have brought forth the fact that she had a swollen lower lip, a small laceration around her left eye, and a lesion to the back of her left hand.
Investigators never interviewed Mangum for her side of the story before placing her under arrest for assault with intent to kill Reginald Daye.
Had authorities bothered, they would have learned from Ms. Mangum the truth behind the incident of April 3, 2011… events unfolding as follows:
Reginald Daye was a heavy alcoholic, who according to Crystal would drink up to a case of beer during a weekday, and consume a gallon of whiskey on weekends. He had been drinking the evening of Saturday, April 2, 2011, when they attended a birthday party arriving about an hour before midnight. Daye drank at the party, and then after a couple of hours, he drove himself and Crystal back to the apartment they shared.
In the parking lot nearby the apartment, Crystal saw a police officer she knew and began a conversation with him. Reginald Daye became jealous over the attention she gave to him and demanded that she accompany him to the apartment. When she lingered, Daye became enraged and began shouting at her, which led to an argument. Money, rent, and finances were not discussed or the subject of the argument.
Frightened and concerned about Daye’s outburst, Mangum asked the officer to give her a ride to a friend’s residence, whereupon the officer instructed Mangum and Daye to take their argument inside. Mangum complied and went with Daye to the second floor apartment… sustaining a cut to her knee when being dragged up some stairs.
Once inside the apartment, the intoxicated Daye punched her, spit on her, and pulled out her hair. When she retreated to the bathroom and locked the door behind her in seeking refuge from her abuser, Daye kicked in the door, knocking it off its hinges. The terror inside the apartment, which Mangum estimates at lasting an hour, included Daye bringing in steak knives from the kitchen and throwing them at her. Finally, when Daye was atop Mangum with both of his hand around her neck choking her, she desperately grabbed a knife that was lying within reach, and stabbed Daye once in the left side.
Daye got up off of Mangum after the stabbing and she jumped to her feet, grabbed her purse, which contained two cashier’s checks, and fled the apartment… with Daye giving short pursuit.
Mangum walked to a friend’s apartment close by, and was given shelter for the remainder of the morning… until police arrived and immediately handcuffed and arrested her. A statement given by the woman, Ms. Howard, to police recorded that upon answering the door, a sobbing Mangum said, “He beat me.”
Two days later, on Tuesday, April 5, 2011, police returned to Ms. Howard’s apartment and retrieved the two cashier’s checks that had been in Mangum’s purse. These two cashier’s checks would be the basis for the larceny charge against Mangum.
Reginald Daye’s condition on arrival to the emergency department at Duke University Hospital was stable enough to undergo a diagnostic CAT scan prior to emergency surgery. Findings at surgery revealed a laceration to the colon, which was repaired with sutures, and a small lesion to the spleen which was treated with electrocautery and Surgi-cel. Daye tolerated the successful surgery and had a prognosis for a full recovery.
Although Daye had received treatment for alcohol withdrawal, his signs and symptoms worsened with agitation, tachycardia, and high blood pressure to the point where he was transferred to the surgical intensive care unit.
On the third postoperative day, in preparation for a diagnostic study, contrast agent was introduced into Daye’s stomach via an n-g tube. Sometime shortly thereafter he vomited.
Concerns about protecting the airway from aspiration and to administer high concentrations of oxygen, the decision was made to intubate Daye. After receiving paralytic medication to facilitate the process, Daye was intubated with an 8 mm tube. However, the end tidal CO2 value, which indicates proper placement, was negative and tube placement was then reassessed visually and deemed to be correctly positioned.
Sometime thereafter, Daye went into a cardiac arrest, at which time cardiopulmonary resuscitation was begun. The endotracheal tube was removed and Daye was re-intubated with a smaller 7.5 mm tube. This placement gave a positive value for the EtCO2.
According to records, CPR lasted twenty minutes before the heart was resuscitated and began pumping oxygenated blood throughout the body. Unfortunately, the brain is extremely sensitive to oxygen deprivation and the brain cells died leaving Daye in what doctors considered to be an irreversible coma. After a week without any neurological improvement, the medical staff, with approval of Daye’s family, removed Reginald from life support after which he shortly succumbed.
Dr. Clay Nichols, the medical examiner, later produced an autopsy report which included findings not substantiated and contradicted by other medical records and logic… such as injuries and repairs to organs and tissues not mentioned in the operative report. Also Dr. Nichols concluded that the cause of death was due to complications of a stab wound to the chest… omitting mention that the proximate cause of Daye’s death was his elective removal from life support, not mentioning that Daye was removed from life support due to a diagnosis of irreversible brain death, not mentioning that esophageal intubation led to a cardiac arrest and brain death, and producing no nexus between Daye’s stab wound and his brain death or actual death.
Using this fraudulent and faulty autopsy report of April 14, 2011 as its basis, Prosecutor Kelly Gauger charged Crystal Mangum with first degree murder.
The first degree murder charge has a sentence that includes the death penalty and life in prison… and a life of imprisonment for Crystal Mangum would be the goal of the Durham prosecutor’s office. A requirement for charging a defendant with murder in the first degree is that the act be premeditated… something that would be impossible for the prosecutors to prove, so they get around this by using an insidious and draconian statute called the “felony-murder rule.”
The felony-murder rule enables prosecutors to upgrade charges of second degree murder where they cannot prove premeditation to first degree if they can show that the murder was linked to the commission of another felonious criminal act… such as robbery, rape, or burglary.
So the Durham District Attorney Leon Stanback and assistant D.A.s Kelly Gauger and Charlene Coggins-Franks are counting on their two count larceny charge to represent the related felonious action that would advance the murder charge from second to first degree.
However, the larceny charge is totally bogus on all accounts, and to charge Ms. Mangum with it is deceitful, malicious, and unethical. The relevant issues and facts regarding the basis of that charge are as follows:
Around the beginning of March 2011, Crystal Mangum and her three children moved into Reginald Daye’s apartment at his invitation. Within weeks, Mangum and Daye were involved in an intimate relationship. Reginald Daye worked as a house painter on weekdays during the hours when the apartment office was open. On Friday, March 25, 2011, Daye obtained a cashier’s check for $300.00 made out to Country Scene Apartments… the amount a little less than half of the monthly rent. That day he gave the check to Crystal so that she could drop it off at the rental office while he was at work on Monday, April 4, 2011. Crystal put the check in her purse for safekeeping.
The following Friday, April 1, 2011, Daye procured another cashier’s check listing Country Scene Apartments as the payee in the amount of $400.00. That day he also handed the check over to Mangum so that she could deliver it, along with the check for $300, which would cover the rent of $700, to the rental office the following Monday, April 4, 2011. As before, Crystal put the check in her purse, and gave it no further thought.
In the early morning hours of Sunday, April 3, 2011, an intoxicated Daye began arguing with Mangum because he perceived her to be flirting with a police officer. The argument had absolutely nothing to do with money, cashier’s checks or rent. Inside Daye’s apartment the argument turned violent and after approximately an hour of torment and terror, Mangum stabbed Daye in self defense, and before fleeing she grabbed her purse, which contained the two cashier’s checks.
Without obtaining her version of the events that transpired early that morning, Mangum was immediately arrested and charged with assault with intent to kill Reginald Daye. Two days later, police returned to Ms. Howard’s apartment to retrieve the two cashier’s checks.
Prosecutors charged Mangum with two counts of larceny (one count for each check) even though Daye gave both of the cashier’s checks to Crystal Mangum, Daye never asked for Crystal to return them, Crystal never took them from Daye, Crystal could not have converted them for her use as she was neither the payee nor the remitter, and that Daye always had the ability to redeem the value of the cashier’s checks as long as they were not claimed by the payee.
The fact that a cashier’s check can only be converted by the payee or remitter is so universally understood, that the State Employees Credit Union, upon which the cashier’s checks were drawn, have no written policy that explains what happens when a remitter loses a cashier’s check or has it stolen. It is understood by everyone that if unclaimed by the payee, a cashier’s check can be redeemed by the remitter without problem.
Therefore, although Daye may not have been in physical contact with the cashier’s checks, he always retained the value of them… they were of no fiscal value to Crystal Mangum. Consequently, it would make absolutely no sense for him to argue to take possession of the checks, for him to fret over not having physical possession of the checks, or for Mangum to covet the physical possession of them and refuse to turn them over to Daye upon his request. The case made by prosecutors for larceny involving the two cashier’s checks is absurd and defies not only the facts and evidence, but common sense and logic.
Prosecutor Charlene Coggins-Franks is using a little known – rarely used law in charging Mangum… North Carolina General Statute § 14-75 Larceny of chose in action. It begins as follows: “If any person shall feloniously steal, take and carry away, or take by robbery, any bank note, check or other order for the payment of money issued by or drawn on any bank or other society or corporation within this State or within any of the United States, or any treasury warrant, debenture, certificate of stock or other public security, or certificate of stock in any corporation, or any order, bill of exchange, bond, promissory note or other obligation”… This does not apply to Crystal’s case as the cashier’s checks were voluntarily given to her by Daye with the intention of her handing them over to the manager in the rental office.
It concludes: .. “either for the payment of money or for the delivery of specific articles, being the property of any other person, or of any corporation (notwithstanding any of the said particulars may be termed in law a chose in action), that person is guilty of a Class H felony.” This part of the rule is not applicable either because Mangum was in possession of one cashier’s check for nine days and the second one for two days, and she made no attempt to alter or convert them for her own use.
The importance of saddling Mangum with this larceny charge is for the purpose of bringing the felony-murder rule into play in order to upgrade the murder charge to first degree, as the prosecution is planning to try and have Mangum sentenced to life in prison.
The felony-murder rule in North Carolina’s homicide law reads as follows: “A murder which shall be committed in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of any arson, rape or a sex offense, robbery, kidnapping, burglary, or other felony committed or attempted with the use of a deadly weapon shall be deemed to be murder in the first degree, a Class A felony, and any person who commits such murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment in the State's prison for life without parole.”
The first degree murder charge is without basis on many aspects. First and foremost, Daye did not die as a result of the stab wound… he was electively removed from life support after a botched intubation by Duke University staff left him brain dead.
More importantly, Crystal Mangum stabbed Reginald Daye in self-defense.
Secondly, the underlying “larceny of chose in action” is bogus itself, as the cashier’s checks were given to Mangum by Daye and because she made no effort and had no intent to convert them to cash.
District Attorney Leon Stanback is wasting taxpayer money by allowing Prosecutor Charlene Coggins-Franks to proceed with this vendetta prosecution against Mangum as payback for her role in the Duke Lacrosse case. Taxpayer dollars are also going down the drain for her unjust incarceration in the Durham County Detention Center which is well over a year now.
The corruption and widespread conspiracy surrounding the cruel prosecution has claimed as conspirators and conspirators-after-the-fact: Governor Bev Perdue, Durham District Attorney Stanback, Prosecutor Coggins-Franks, and all of those who are aware of the injustice while being in positions to do something about it and yet refraining. The criminal justice system in the state is broken, especially in Durham County.
The problems that are currently plaguing Durham’s justice system would not be present if Mike Nifong were still in position as the Durham D.A. Mike Nifong is a man of integrity who represented himself in the truest sense as a “minister of justice”… meting out justice equally and in accordance with the law. A district attorney possessing integrity would not allow an innocent person to remain in custody on bogus charges based on a vendetta prosecution.
Durham District Attorney Leon Stanback knows that the murder and larceny charges against Ms. Mangum are fraudulent, but after witnessing the public crucifixion of Nifong by the state and the media when he dared to stand up and do the right thing by prosecuting the Duke Lacrosse case, the present D.A. has learned his lesson and will not challenge the Powers-That-Be… even when justice is on his side.
To recap, prosecutors wanted to have Crystal Mangum sentenced to life in prison for Reginald Daye’s death, which in actuality had nothing to do with the stab wound she inflicted in self-defense. Sentencing guidelines required that a Class A murder, punishable by death or life in prison without the possibility of parole, be premeditated. Because the stabbing of Daye was definitely not premeditated, prosecutors decided to use the “Felony-Murder rule” to bring the charge of murder in the first degree.
The felony-murder rule allows a murder to be classified as first degree if the victim’s death is linked to the commission of another felony crime. Because larceny in the amount of $700 is only a misdemeanor crime as it is less than the thousand dollar threshold needed for a felony, it would not be helpful in bringing the felony-murder rule into play.
The Larceny of Chose in Action charge is a little known-rarely used law that specifically addresses the theft of checks, money orders, and bank notes for their unlawful conversion. This crime is a felony irrespective of the value of the checks or bank notes… and so prosecutors elected to use it to meet prerequisites of the murder-felony rule.
The Larceny of Chose in Action charge is so rarely used that Attorney Woody Vann, who currently represents Ms. Mangum, told me that he couldn’t even recall hearing of such a charge being brought to court.
As a comparison, take the case of Daniel Edward Atkinson, in the Wake County Court for larceny of five checks. The arrest warrant stated that he used the checks to get $936… This would amount to a misdemeanor under the larceny of property NCGS statute § 14-72 …. However, under a charge of Larceny of Chose in Action, this crime would be a felony. This is a case that specifically applies to the crime committed by Mr. Atkinson, yet he was not charged with Larceny of Chose in Action… and he was not charged with five counts, one for each check unlawfully taken.
Ms. Mangum, on the other hand, never stole the checks… they were given to her by Reginald Daye. Unlike Mr. Atkinson, she never altered or attempted to convert the checks for her use. The basic requirements for the charge of Larceny of Chose in Action are never met in the prosecutor’s case against Mangum.
Keeping things in perspective, the value of both cashier’s checks to Mangum was nil. Theft of a roll of bathroom tissue would represent a more legitimate case for larceny than two cashier’s checks that are worthless to her.
Likewise, Reginald Daye, by not having physical possession of the cashier’s checks, always retained their value, and theft of a roll of bathroom tissue would represent a more substantial loss for Daye than the cashier’s checks.
If the larceny charge based on the two cashier’s checks was made in good faith, Mangum would have been charged with it shortly after her arrest on April 3, 2011. As it is, the Larceny of Chose in Action charge was filed on the same day as the murder charge, April 18, 2011, and was used to boost the murder to first degree… all for the purpose of keeping Crystal Mangum behind bars for life without the possibility of parole… a victim of domestic violence who inflicted a non-fatal stab wound to Daye in order to save her life.
D.A. Stanback and prosecutor Coggins-Franks are dearly holding on to the trumped up Larceny of Chose in Action charge for the cruel and inhumane purpose of keeping Crystal Mangum behind bars for the rest of her life.
I repeat… this travesty of justice would not be happening if Mike Nifong was still the Durham district attorney.