Jury selection starts in Crystal Mangum murder trial

As jurors are selected in the Mangum murder trial, the judge is making decisions on evidence in the case.
November 12, 2013 4:03:32 PM PST
Crystal Mangum, the woman who once falsely accused Duke Lacrosse players of rape, was back in court Tuesday for the start of her murder trial.

Mangum is charged with stabbing her boyfriend, Reginald Daye, with a kitchen knife during an argument in April 2011. Daye died 10 days later. Mangum claims it was all in self defense - and that a medical error was to blame for Daye's death.

It wasn't clear if the trial would start on time after Mangum's attorneys requested a delay following a controversy with a deputy medical examiner.

At issue is the firing and investigation of Dr. Clay Nichols, a state medical examiner who was set to testify at Mangum's trial. He's under investigation for his handling of another unrelated case.

The judge denied the motion to continue, saying he has conferred with the Orange County District Attorney and the State Bureau of Investigation and reviewed a preliminary report on the investigation.

The judge also denied a motion filed during an emergency meeting last week to make prosecutors hand over all of Mangum's mental health records related to the Duke Lacrosse case.

Prosecutors warned that could open up the door to discussing the case. For now, judge has denied the defense's request for the records.

Last week, Mangum's legal team asked the judge to stop any mention of the Duke Lacrosse case during her trial set for next week. Prosecutors promised not to bring it up, as long as Mangum does the same.

On Tuesday, 70 potential jurors arrived at the Durham County Courthouse for jury selection.

Attorneys handed out a brief survey about the case to potential jurors during selection.

Two women were excused after admitting to having strong opinions that would not change. A male juror was also excused after admitting to strong opinions. Despite saying he could put his feelings aside, he was still dismissed.

As of Tuesday evening, seven jurors have been seated in the murder trial.

Mangum made national headlines in 2006 when she accused a group of Duke University lacrosse players of sexually assaulting her while she worked as a stripper at a party. The accusations were later found to be false, and Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed all charges filed against the students.

Mangum has gone through several attorneys - who asked to be removed from the case - and even represented herself for a time.

The revolving door of defenders pushed back her trial date for years. She is charged with first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and larceny.

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