Word count 2,720
The pieces have been in place for some time… the puzzle is complete and it exposes a conspiracy so broad in scope as to be mind-boggling… a scenario that is acceptable to all reasonable individuals, even those who are not bona fide conspiracy theorists. This 2011 murder/larceny conspiracy is much broader and more serious than the 2010 arson intrigue that put the Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser Crystal Mangum in jail for three months… but they are both similar in motive and structure.
The first degree murder charge and the “larceny of chose in action” charge against Crystal Mangum related to Reginald Daye’s death on April 13, 2011, are without doubt bogus and baseless… charges which should never have been brought against Mangum, and charges that were inspired by an unquenchable thirst by prosecutors and the misguided to exact payback for her role in the Duke Lacrosse case. The ability to bring these charges was due to complicity of many actors sharing a common desire to inflict severe grief upon Mangum. However, the lynchpin holding the conspiracy against Mangum together was the mainstream media, both local and national… for their job was most important. The media was charged with keeping the public ignorant of the misdeeds and malfeasances being perpetrated by the prosecutors, the medical examiner, and the defense attorneys. The media was also in position to try and discredit supporters of Mangum as being unstable, lawless, and irresponsible.
Since 2007, media-types prepared for this 2011 conspiracy by pulling a Jedi mind-trick on the masses of Durhamians, cultivating an irrational antipathy towards Crystal Mangum while lionizing the three Duke Lacrosse defendants (who never spent a day in jail, shook down Duke University for $20 million each, and are avariciously seeking $10 million more from the cash-strapped city of Durham). So, the culture in the Bull City is one which adores the privileged party-going student athletes from Duke, and despises the African American single mother of three who was enrolled in a graduate program at North Carolina Central University before the city took, without provocation, the liberty of trumping up a series of charges against he in 2010.
In the 2011, as in the 2010 case, Mangum was the victim of domestic physical abuse, and Durham Police and prosecutors in both cases ignored the abusers and arrested the victim. Specifically in 2011, Mangum’s abuse at the had of Daye was documented by photos showing her with a swollen lower lip, cuts around her eye, a lesion to the back of her left hand, clumps of her hair at the scene, and a bathroom door that had been kicked in by Daye as he attempted to get at her. According to Mangum, it was only after Daye was choking her with both hands that she stabbed him with a steak knife that was lying nearby… inflicting a nonfatal wound, and one that most probably saved her life. After Daye sustained the injury, Mangum as able to escape his grasp, grab her purse and flee.
Prosecutors and Durham Police need to be held accountable as to why they refused to arrest Reginald Daye and charge him with domestic violence, assault on a female, and false imprisonment, especially in lieu of the fact that Daye was intoxicated and an alcoholic, and that he had a past history of violence toward women. Instead they elect to arrest and charge Mangum for assault with intent to kill, when it is reasonable to conclude that she was physically beaten, her hair pulled out, and the bathroom door kicked in prior to Daye being stabbed. It is clearly a case of self-defense.
Even had Daye died as a direct result of the stab wound, Mangum should not have been charged with his murder due to the fact that she acted in self-defense. However, facts show that Daye’s postoperative prognosis was for a full recovery, and it is without doubt that Daye died secondary to complications of a misplaced endotracheal tube used to treat Daye for delirium tremens.
The most critical and inflammatory part of the 2011 conspiracy against Mangum is the fraudulent Autopsy Examination Report of April 14, 2011, by Orange County Medical Examiner Clay Nichols, M.D. His report contains findings not corroborated by other medical records, but some that are even contradicted. Furthermore, the conclusion reached by Dr. Nichols that Daye died due to “complications of a stab wound to the chest” is unsubstantiated and there is no nexus established with Daye’s demise.
Without doubt, Durham Prosecutor Kelly Gauger, and her replacement, Charlene Coggins-Franks, knew or should have known that the autopsy report was corrupt and not a reliable document. Abandoning their roles as “ministers of justice” these prosecutors used the fraudulent autopsy document as the basis for charging Mangum with murder. Prosecutors were driven by two motives in charging her with Daye’s death… first, to inflict severe punishment upon Mangum as a vendetta for her role in the Duke Lacrosse case, and second, to protect the reputation of Duke University Hospital whose staff was truly responsible for Daye’s death.
Prosecutor Gauger, when bringing the indictment for murder against Mangum, also were granted indictments on two counts of “larceny of chose in action,” one for each cashier’s check allegedly “stolen” by Mangum. Truth be told, Reginald Daye gave both cashier’s checks to Mangum, and they were both filled out so that she could not convert them for her profit. In addition, she made no attempt and there was no intent for her to illegally convert them… both requisites for the “larceny of chose in action” being absent. This charge was blatantly trumped up, but was necessary in order to impose the “felony-murder rule” to upgrade the charge to first degree murder. When Prosecutor Gauger got the grand jury indictments on April 18, 2011, her ambitious goal was to convict Mangum, who she knew to be innocent of any crime, and have her sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In order for the prosecution team to pull off such a flagrant injustice, it needed not only the cooperation of the medical examiner, which it had, but even more importantly, the cooperation of Mangum’s defense attorney. They needed an unscrupulous lawyer who would pretend to make an effort to represent his client while selling Mangum down the river at the same time. There is no doubt in my mind that the defense attorneys had assurances from the Powers-That-Be that they would have immunity from the ineffective representation they provided… that such a complaint would never even see the light of an appeal. H. Wood Vann was initially selected to represent Mangum, and I strongly believe that there was a reason for his selection… that it wasn’t purely arbitrary. Then for circumstances unknown to me, Ms. Mangum replaced Mr. Vann with defense attorney Chris Shella. To my knowledge, Mr. Shella conducted no investigation, withheld prosecution discovery photographs from Mangum, and only filed several motions for bail reduction. One was heard by Duke Lacrosse Judge Osmond Smith III who should have recused himself due to conflict of interest… but he didn’t in swiftly denying bail in March 2012. Mr. Shella never challenged Smith’s being on the bench for that hearing.
Mr. Shella’s abrupt departure came after nearly a year with him sitting on the case and accomplishing nothing as his client remained in jail. It was provoked because of action taken by members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong who exposed problems with the prosecution’s case. Mr. Shella wisely removed himself from the case after complaining that Mangum compromised her case by giving some prosecution discovery to me, which I posted online and used to backup my claims of prosecutorial misconduct… in other words, for enlightening the public about problems with the case. The court then re-installed its initial choice to represent Ms. Mangum, Woody Vann.
Mr. Vann followed the same playbook as the prosecution, which was to keep everything about Mangum’s case hidden from the public. The reason for that is simply to conceal the great injustices that were taking place to deprive Mangum of justice. Like Shella, Vann kept important discovery away from his client Mangum… including photographs which visually support that Crystal Mangum was abused, the report by Dr. Christena L. Roberts that evaluates the autopsy report of April 14, 2011 by Clay Nichols, and the mysterious yearlong SBI wound entry trajectory study pertaining to Daye’s wound. Unlike Shella, Vann did not file any motions with the court, and he refused to even consider the possibility of filing a motion to dismiss the charge of “larceny of chose in action.” The few times that Mr. Vann came to visit Mangum was just prior to her giving interviews to the media. (Although the media is markedly prejudiced against her, having the forum to get her story out to the public outweighed the risks of the probable skewed reporting that was to follow.)
One thing that has always been consistent about Mangum’s representation is that it moves at the pace of cooled molasses flowing uphill. There never has seemed to be any urgency, with defense attorneys taking their sweet time while Mangum, under a ridiculously high bail, serves out a sentence… an acceptable practice for use against African American defendants… consider the cases of James Arthur Johnson and Carletta Patrice Alston just to name a few.
Joining the ranks of the conspirators, which includes the Durham prosecution, the Orange County Medical Examiner Nichols, and Mangum’s defense attorneys, is the largest conspirator, the mainstream media. The media’s involvement is a vital one, and necessary for the prosecution to get away with its charges against Mangum. Acting to conceal important information, the media has adroitly acted to cover-up the gross unfairness and bias in the charges and court proceedings against Mangum. It has also played a diversionary role by placing its focus on Mangum supporters. For example, “more than one journalist” was responsible for prodding the North Carolina State Bar into investigating me for the unlawful practice of law. To hide the identities of these activist media-types, the Bar elected to own the complaint and listed itself as the complainant. The “investigation into this Mangum supporter” was given more coverage that the important issues about Mangum’s unjust charges and her ineffective defense.
The media definitely excelled in keeping the people ignorant of the truth about Mangum’s case and spinning it to her disadvantage. Specifically, the media barely mentioned that Daye was heavily intoxicated, that he was an alcoholic, and that he had a past history of abusing women. The media was quick to erroneously state that Daye was stabbed repeatedly, and kept quiet about any alleged “motive” for Mangum to stab Daye… not giving credence to self-defense. A self-imposed media blackout on Daye occurred during his weeklong coma, and his unconscious state was only mentioned after his death. In reporting his death, I only found one source that said he was on life-support and that its removal precipitated his death. The local media, which has been consumed with obtaining copies of former UNC football coach Butch Davis and uncovering the names of the UNC football players whose parking tickets were forgiven, have shown no interest when it comes to problems with the autopsy report and its significant discrepancies with other medical records. A media apathy also swirls around issues concerning Daye’s death and its real cause which was medical malpractice (although a hospital homicide cannot be ruled out).
To an objective and reasonable observer with full knowledge of the facts of the media coverage of Crystal Mangum’s case, it is obvious that its goal was to shift blame for Daye’s death from Duke University Hospital to Mangum, and to work with their co-conspirators by keeping crucial information from the people… a grand large scale nationwide cover-up. Let there be no doubt that the orders dictating how this case was to be handled came from the higher echelons of the media sources as they had an understanding that their reporting was to help determine the case’s outcome.
Now that you have the major conspirators revealed (Durham prosecutor, Orange County Medical Examiner, Mangum’s attorneys, and the mainstream media – both local and national), the final ingredient for this perfect recipe of injustice is the enablers. The enablers are individuals and organizations with the clout, prestige, influence and power to make a difference, but remain idly by and say nothing. This group I find most frustrating… but to an extent, I understand their reluctance to get involved. Simply put, they lack courage. After witnessing what happened to former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong when he followed his conscience and proceeded with an unpopular prosecution of the three Duke Lacrosse players in 2006, politicians learned of the harsh consequences that oft-times accompany supporting a politically incorrect position. Siding with Mangum is a taboo proposition that is analogous to juggling vials of unstable nitroglycerin… do so at your own risk, and may politicians, attorneys and other professionals are not willing to sacrifice their reputations and careers in an attempt to seek justice for a media maligned African American single mother who is held in contempt by an overwhelming number of Durhamians and Tar Heelians.
Members of the Durham City Council and the North Carolina General Assembly were made aware of the injustices and ignored pleas to get involved… even those in Durham who represented her, such as Senator Floyd McKissick, and Representatives Larry Hall and Mickey Michaux, and Congressman David Price. The NAACP, likewise, has remained silent as a dormouse about Crystal Mangum being deprived of her civil rights, as has the ACLU. The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence has once again refused to lift a finger or utter a word about Mangum’s double mistreatment by her abuser and the justice system (this group had previously failed to take any action about the 2010 domestic violence against Mangum).
Had these individuals and organizations gotten involved, the broad 2011 conspiracy against Mangum would not have become so entrenched. Because of their silence and inactivity, the enablers share the culpability of the great injustice against Crystal Mangum.
Yes, the jig of injustice against Mangum is up, and the Durham prosecution should drop all criminal charges related to the 2011 incident and release Mangum from jail. Failing that, the following steps, at a minimum, should be taken:
(1) dismiss the “larceny of chose in action” charge as it lacks credible evidence and probable cause;
(2) force Mr. Vann to turn over all prosecution discovery and evidence to Mangum;
(3) remove Mr. Vann as the defense attorney for Mangum;
(4) release Mangum on her own recognizance;
(5) investigate the discrepancies in the autopsy report and other medical records and police reports; and
(6) investigate circumstances of Daye’s death to rule out hospital homicide.
The above actions will not only accrue to the benefit of justice, but help reduce the city of Durham’s running tab for the prosecutorial civil liability for the malicious prosecution and unjust incarceration of Mangum. As it is, the county has already wasted taxpayer dollars to pay for the sham prosecution on bogus charges, and for Mangum to be held at the Durham County Detention Center.
Today marks the five hundredth day of Mangum’s wrongful incarceration on bogus and trumped up charges. Consider that the Duke Lacrosse defendants are suing the city of Durham for $10 million each, and they never spent a single day in jail… plus they have no credible evidence that they were maliciously charged by the state. The Duke Lacrosse players have no explanation for their demands for money from the city other than an overblown sense of entitlement that often accompanies those who come from families of wealth, power, and privilege… such as their carpetbagger families. If anyone is deserving of ten million dollars from the city, it is Crystal Mangum.
Conspirators need to give it up and cut their losses. The jig is up, and although the media continues to try to keep the truth about Mangum’s prosecution hidden from all, with the help of the courageous members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, the truth will see the light of day, sooner rather than later, and at long last justice will prevail.