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In a Durham courtroom last Friday, December 7, 2012, Defense Attorney Woody Vann, who was appointed as Crystal Mangum’s backup assistant, brought before the court his scheduled Monday, December 10th meeting with Black Mountain forensic pathologist Christena L. Roberts, M.D., and an unidentified member from the Capital Defender’s office where the tête-à-tête was to take place. This clandestine meeting had been arranged by Mr. Vann without the knowledge of Ms. Mangum, the murder defendant who is representing herself with his appointment as a backup assistant. The stated purpose of this meeting was to discuss Dr. Roberts’ sudden concerns about the privacy rights of the deceased Reginald Daye (the intoxicated abuser who was stabbed by Mangum in self-defense on April 3, 2011). Upon hearing about this gathering for the first time while at her court hearing, Mangum expressed her desire to be present.
Honorable Judge Michael O’Foghludha, one of a revolving door of black robers to preside over Mangum’s hearings, instructed for her to be in attendance (brought over from jail in chains and leg irons) at the get-together. However, the judge set a condition that the meeting was to consist only of Dr. Roberts, Mr. Vann, an unidentified person from the Capital Defense office, and Crystal Mangum. In other words, Sidney B. Harr, a retired physician and supporter of Mangum, was not invited.
In my blog of December 8, 2012, I made the following insightful and prophetic statements:
“A written report by Roberts for a ten hour investigation not completed after more than five months? It doesn’t make sense. What does make since is her desire not to produce a written report about Reginald Daye’s death or the autopsy report by North Carolina Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Clay Nichols. Dr. Roberts is well aware that any report she drafts will directly implicate Duke University Hospital in Daye’s death, and it will support my contention, all along, that Medical Examiner Nichols’ autopsy report of April 14, 2011, contains false findings and an unsupported conclusion regarding Daye’s death. In addition, the report will sink the prosecution’s claim that Mangum’s stabbing of Daye (which was in self-defense) was the direct and proximate cause of his death.”
I also stated as follows regarding this mysterious meeting arranged behind Mangum’s back and its objectives:
“Why travel all the way from Black Mountain, NC, to Durham just in order to give Crystal Mangum a verbal report only… which is what I am expecting. My expectation is that after five months with no written report at hand, Dr. Christena Roberts has no intention of putting in writing the sins of Dr. Nichols, Duke University Hospital, and the City of Durham. This trip, I believe, is part of an intricate ploy to attempt to address Judge Robert Hobgood’s order to provide Ms. Mangum with a written report and yet still not put anything in writing. It’s time for the gamesmanship by Durham prosecutors and turncoat defense attorneys to stop and for Dr. Roberts to immediately provide Mangum with a written report as directed by Judge Hobgood.”
And, for good measure, using Sherlockian deduction, I averred:
“If a written report from Dr. Roberts is forthcoming on the possible Monday visit, I will be shocked.” Unfortunately, I was not shocked… this Monday, December 10th, there was no report from Dr. Roberts.
On Monday, December 10, 2012, at about 3:00 pm, Vann, Roberts, and Mangum convened at the Capital Defenders office, without the presence of the unidentified person from the office. This meeting, most likely orchestrated by Mr. Vann was to help the forensic pathologist Dr. Roberts contravene Judge Robert Hobgood’s order to produce a written report (about Reginald Daye’s death and autopsy) and turn it over to Crystal Mangum. Judge O’Foghludha’s order limiting attendees at this meeting (in particular excluding Mangum supporter Dr. Harr) left Ms. Mangum, a tethered lamb, in a den of famished jackals. Had Dr. Harr been invited to the soiree to look after Mangum’s interests, you can bet that Dr. Roberts would have been a no-show.
For what Ms. Mangum estimated to be three hours, she stated that Dr. Roberts went over the April 14, 2011 Autopsy Examination Report prepared by Dr. Clay Nichols, the North Carolina Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, point by point. According to Mangum, the doctor stated that Dr. Nichols’ autopsy report was essentially accurate. When queried about the perforation to the left lung mentioned in the autopsy report and its absence in the operative report, Dr. Roberts tried to convince Mangum that it is possible for surgeons to miss certain lesions that are found at autopsy… in other words, the emergency department doctors, radiologists, and trauma surgeons at Duke University Hospital, missed a laceration to the left lung and diaphragm. This explanation is a variant on another explanation given earlier from Dr. Roberts via Woody Vann which explained that the lesion to the left lung was caused by the insertion of a chest tube… in other words, Duke University Hospital medical staff injured Daye’s left lung while introducing a chest tube. I am not sure what explanation Dr. Roberts gave for the autopsy report stating that the fundus of the stomach had a sutured laceration whereas the operative report mentioned that the stomach appeared to be normal. In addition to discrepancies between the autopsy report and other medical records of Daye with regards to the left kidney and diaphragm, there is also the question of the multiple left upper extremity lesions described by Dr. Nichols as “defensive injuries”… their presence being contradicted by a preoperative orthopedic consultation and EMS assessment of Daye at the scene. Not only that, but prosecution discovery photographs showed no lesions to the left upper extremity, neither during his hospitalization nor postmortem.
At this meeting, Dr. Roberts and Attorney Vann spent three hours attempting to convince Crystal Mangum that the autopsy report by Dr. Clay Nichols was accurate and correct, and that the case against her was strong. In particular, they tried to make her believe that if they were to produce a written report, it would be detrimental to her case, and be subject to retrieval by the prosecution. This makes absolutely no sense because if the prosecution wanted, they could easily hire their own forensic pathologist to review the autopsy report… but they won’t, because it knows that that would only bring to light the flaws of the Nichols report.
In avoiding the order by Judge Hobgood for Dr. Roberts to produce a written report and send it to Mangum, Dr. Roberts and Woody Vann are hoping that this Monday meeting is a satisfactory substitute. Dr. Roberts even went so far as to say to Mangum that she would not produce a written report. She also told Ms. Mangum that she had not yet completed her investigation.
Well, congratulations are in order for Mr. Vann who has successfully turned Dr. Roberts to the Dark Side… welcoming her to the growing list of conspirators bent on convicting Mangum (the victim of domestic violence) of the first degree murder of Reginald Daye – whose death for which she was not responsible. All along, since he was first appointed by the Court to represent Crystal Mangum against charges related to the April 3, 2011 incident, Mr. Vann’s mission was to work with the prosecution in convicting Mangum, to protect Medical Examiner Clay Nichols (who went out of his way to prepare a fraudulent report to facilitate a murder conviction with a life sentence), to conceal Duke University Hospital’s culpability in Daye’s death, and to eliminate any legal liability against the City of Durham for its malicious prosecution and unjust incarceration of Mangum.
Dr. Christena L. Roberts finds herself entrapped in this legal morass of false statements and intrigue, without an easy means with which to extricate herself. Had she been cognizant of the pitfalls beforehand of being forced to tell the truth and incriminating the state’s deputy chief medical examiner, Dr. Roberts would never have undertaken the assignment. Realistically, there is no other medical examiner or physician in the Tar Heel State who would be willing to review Reginald Daye’s death and autopsy. That is because they all lack Nifongian courage*. They’re afraid to buck the Powers-That-Be.
For Dr. Roberts to defy Judge Hobgood’s order to provide a written report to Mangum is an outrage and affront to the principles of equal justice for all. Mangum is deserving of it so that she can prepare her defense. The defiance of Hobgood’s order along with the entire vendetta-driven case is a humongous blot on the state of North Carolina, and all Durhamians and Tar Heelians should be shamed and embarrassed by it.
Unfortunately, the mainstream media, which has shown much interest in cell phone records of former UNC football coach Butch Davis, and the many parking tickets accrued by UNC football players that were surreptitiously paid off, lacks even a scintilla of apparent curiosity about the autopsy report by Dr. Clay Nichols… despite the report’s inconsistencies and contradictions with other medical records that are easily understandable by anyone with a fifth grade reading comprehension level. By assuming a position of ignorance of the misdeeds and malfeasances associated with the Mangum’s prosecution based on Nichols’ criminally fraudulent autopsy report, the mainstream media, both locally and nationally, can join the Durham prosecutorial team, Mangum’s defense attorneys, and now Dr. Christena L. Roberts in protecting the state’s Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Clay Nichols, Duke University Hospital, and the City of Durham. By not providing a written report, Dr. Roberts is protecting herself, as well.
* “Nifongian courage” is from the Dictionary of Harr and is defined as: “the courage to do the right thing in the face of the most harsh and extreme consequences.”