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It is obvious that Woody Vann, the defense attorney appointed to represent Crystal Mangum, is leading a full-court press in his attempt to pressure his client into accepting a plea deal… one that would be to her detriment and a salvation to Orange County Medical Examiner Clay Nichols, Duke University Hospital, the city of Durham, and prosecutors Kelly Gauger and Charlene Coggins-Franks.
Mangum, the Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser, has been incarcerated since April 3, 2011 on an initial charge of assault with a deadly weapon for the stabbing of Reginald Daye. An alcoholic, Mr. Daye was heavily intoxicated when in a jealous rage he began physically abusing Ms. Mangum by repeatedly punching her in the face and head, spitting on her, pulling out her hair, and kicking in the bathroom door in order to get at her. It was Daye who brought a set of steak knives from the kitchen into the bedroom, where most of the horrific abuse took place, and began throwing them at her. According to Mangum, he was choking her with both hands when she desperately grabbed a knife lying around and stabbed him once.
Prosecution photographs recorded the injuries sustained by Mangum at Daye’s hands, displays the clumps of her hair lying on the floor at the scene, and shows the battered locked bathroom door that Daye had kicked off its hinges.
These photographs have been turned over by prosecution to Ms. Mangum’s defense attorneys (Chris Shella and Mr. Vann), but they have withheld them from her despite her requests to have copies. Her requests for this specific prosecution discovery have been denied by her defense counsel for more than a year.
After Reginald Daye was taken to Duke University Hospital with the non-life threatening wound, he underwent successful emergency surgery by the trauma team and was on his way to a full recovery. On the third postoperative day, however, complications from alcoholic withdrawal led to his transfer to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. It was then that a decision to intubate him was made in order to administer concentrated oxygen and protect his airway… but, unfortunately the esophagus was intubated instead of the trachea, and the lungs were deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time. This medical malpractice by Duke University staff resulted in Daye’s brain death, and after a week in which no improvement was observed, he was removed from life support and died.
The following day, Orange County Medical Examiner Dr. Nichols performed an autopsy and dictated an Autopsy Examination Report dated April14, 2011. This report, which was released to the public four months later, contained findings of injuries that were not supported by the operative report and other medical records… and many of the reports findings were contradicted by the other documents. Nichols’ narrative omitted mention of problems with delirium tremens which were manifested in Daye, omitted mention of problems with the intubation and re-intubation during CPR, omitted mention of Daye’s weeklong coma, omitted mention of the fact that Daye died after he was taken off life support, and the omission of other pertinent and important facts.
Along with the myriad of false findings and glaring omissions, Dr. Nichols then somehow magically reached the conclusion that Daye died due to “complications of a stab wound to the chest.” No where in the document does the medical examiner even attempt to construct a nexus to support his conclusion. A reasonable person with full knowledge of the facts would immediately realize that Nichols’ conclusion in the autopsy report was reached for the sole purpose of allowing Durham prosecutors to charge Crystal Mangum with Daye’s death… to shift the true responsibility for Daye’s demise from Duke University Hospital staff where it belongs onto Crystal Mangum.
After reviewing the autopsy report by Dr. Nichols, I knew immediately that it was impossible for Daye to have sustained all of the injuries listed (perforations to the left lung, diaphragm, left kidney, fundus of the stomach, spleen, and splenic flexure of the colon) with just a single stab wound with a steak knife. At some point, the State Bureau of Investigation began doing some mysterious experiment that I have been led to believe had to do with the entry wound and its trajectory within Daye’s body. I am not sure what its intention was to prove or to disprove. But, if conducted objectively and scientifically, it would undoubtedly conclude that it was impossible for a single stabbing with a steak knife to inflict the injuries reported by Nichols.
From what I have been told, this mysterious report by the SBI (which has been under scrutiny for many of its unorthodox testing, i.e. markings on bullets, blood spatter, etc.) was conducted over an approximate twelve month period. Crystal Mangum has repeatedly requested to have a copy of this report, as well, but her attorney, Woody Vann has refused.
On May 24, 2012, I showed Mr. Vann the faults within the Nichols autopsy report, and the many discrepancies between it and other medical records. This motivated Mr. Vann to consider having an independent forensic pathologist review the April 14, 2011 autopsy report, and around June 16, 2012, a judge ordered payment for such an expert witness… Dr. Christena L. Roberts.
Crystal Mangum told me that Mr. Vann had received the report from Dr. Roberts but that he would not allow her to see it or give her a copy until after she was released from the Durham County Detention Center. He gave no reason to her for his decision. This important document will undoubtedly refute the determination made by Orange County M.E. Clay Nichols that Reginald Daye died due to complications of a stab wound to the chest. The report by Dr. Roberts would effectively take the murder charge off consideration and destroy the prosecution’s case against Mangum. Crystal Mangum has repeatedly asked Mr. Vann for this document, and he as consistently refused.
Crystal Mangum has been denied the opportunity to see these vital pieces of documents which represent exculpatory evidence. The prosecution is prohibited from withholding such evidence from the defendant, but in this peculiar situation, the defense attorney is the impediment.
As I have said for some time, the truth will set Ms. Mangum free, despite the obstructionist and counterproductive activities of Mangum’s counsel to undermine the strength of her defensive position. Woody Vann, along with prosecutor Charlene Coggins-Franks, is working in conjunction with the mainstream media to keep the truth under wraps. Mr. Vann has no intention of ever allowing these pieces of evidence to ever see the public light of day. The photographs, for example, would heavily lean towards Mangum’s claim that she had been abused and acted in self-defense. The report from the SBI would cast doubt on the numerous injuries listed in the Nichols’ autopsy document, and the report by Dr. Roberts would poke huge holes into the April 14, 2011 report’s findings and conclusion about the cause of Daye’s death. The very credibility of the Nichols autopsy report would be irreparably damaged.
With the annihilation of the Nichols’ report, the prosecution’s case against Mangum would go up in flames as well. As a result of this revelation, Crystal Mangum would be viewed by the public as a victim of Reginald Daye, and a victim of a conspiratorial justice system with heavy collusion from the biased mainstream media. Reputations of the medical examiner, Duke University Hospital, Durham prosecutors, and defense attorneys would also take a beating if the truth were known.
Mr. Vann’s objective now is to keep the truth from being known. To achieve that, he has been seeking to get a plea deal with Ms. Mangum… for her to plea to a felony assault charge in exchange for time served. This would allow the true criminals in this intrigue to escape from the hook, and for the damning prosecution discovery to be disposed of, unseen.
What is truly sad and unfortunate is that Mr. Vann is using his position of trust as attorney for defendant Mangum, to her disadvantage and to the benefit of the prosecution… and he is doing it with the blessing of the North Carolina State Bar. (It seems as though the State Bar is more interested in going after laypersons trying to assist – within the bounds of the law – Ms. Mangum.)
The desperation by the prosecution and its surrogate Vann is evident when he tells Mangum that if she does not accept the plea deal, she is unlikely to get into court before April 2013. This is just one of the scare tactics used by Vann in his bid to protect the prosecutorial conspirators, shield the exculpatory evidence, and really put the screws to the Duke Lacrosse accuser.