Crystal Mangum said she met the man she is now charged with murdering when she stepped out of the shower at a house where she was living.
Reginald Daye was painting a room in the house, owned by a friend from church, she said.
“He saw me getting out the shower, and going into that one little room I was living in with all of the boxes stacked up to the ceiling,” said Mangum, 33, in an interview at the Durham County jail. “He was like ‘Sweetheart, is this where you live?’”
About a month later, Mangum moved in with Daye, 46. About four months later, she was charged with killing him.
Mangum and her supporters say she stabbed Daye in self defense and that she is being persecuted because she accused three members of the Duke University lacrosse team of sexually assaulting her six years ago while she was working as a stripper at a bachelor party. (See box, page XX)
“I feel like assumptions are being made just because I am involved,” Mangum said.
Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed the rape charges against the three players and said they were innocent.
Members of Daye’s family and Durham Assistant District Attorney Charlene Coggins-Franks declined to comment on the pending murder case.Moving in
In December 2010, a judge sentenced Mangum to 88 days in jail, time she already served, when a jury found her guilty on three misdemeanor charges.
Mangum and her three children moved in with the friend, but the home became crowded when others moved in, she said.
Mangum said she responded to Daye’s question with, “Where do you live?”
Daye told her he had a two-bedroom apartment.
“I am like, ‘OK, do you need a roommate?’” she said. “But I am just joking.”
Daye later said he needed a roommate because he was behind on his bills, Mangum said.
Mangum, who didn’t have a job, and her three children moved in with him in February 2011. She paid for two months rent, she said.
“I have some male friends that were helping me out,” Mangum said.
At first, Mangum and Daye were just friends, she said, but they soon started sleeping together.
Daye was “very sweet,” Mangum said. He cooked, kept the house neat, and rubbed her feet.
“Honestly, it was the best relationship I had ever been in,” she said.
Daye, however, became “overprotective,” she said. He started keeping tabs on her, she said. He didn’t want to take the money given to her by male friends, she said, and he told her she shouldn’t dance around the house suggestively.
On the first Saturday night in April 2011 the two attended a birthday party where she met his family for the first time. They arrived later than expected, around 11:30 p.m., and half the guests had left, she said.
Mangum said she had two Jell-O shots and a shot of vodka, but Daye had a lot more to drink.
After the party, Daye’s cousin dropped them off near their apartment.
“We are walking up holding hands, everything is wonderful,” she said, until she dropped Daye’s hand after she saw a police officer she had met during her arson case.Milton Walker
In February 2010, police accused Mangum of slashing the tires of her then boyfriend Milton Walker’s vehicle, smashing the windshield with a vacuum cleaner and setting fire to a pile of his clothes in a bathtub while the police and her three children were in her apartment.
Mangum was convicted of child abuse, vandalism and resisting an officer (all misdemeanors), but not the more severe felony arson charge.
Mangum said Walker, her high school sweetheart, had started hitting her during an argument. She chased him out of the apartment with a step-ladder, she said, and was so angry she put his clothes in the bathtub and set them on fire. She planned to put the fire out, she said, but the police arrived and handcuffed her. Mangum said Walker damaged his own car.
Walker, who didn’t testify in the trial, said Mangum damaged his car after she chased him with a knife and left the apartment.
“She doesn’t use common sense to well,” Walker said. “Other than that she is a good person. I don’t think she means to harm anybody.”Take it inside
After leaving the April 2011 birthday party, Mangum said she started speaking with the officer and Daye got upset. The officer told the couple to take it inside, Mangum said.
Inside Daye started yelling at her and punching her, asking if she’d had sex with the officer, Mangum said.
Mangum locked herself in the bathroom, she said, but Daye knocked the door down and pulled her by the hair to the bedroom, she said. He threw kitchen knives at her, she said, and eventually started choking her.
“I could feel my heartbeat in my head,” she said. “I felt like I was going to pass out, so I grabbed the knife and stabbed him with it. “
Daye sat down beside her and said, “You b----,” Mangum said.
Mangum ran out the door and through the woods to a friend’s apartment where her children were. At 3:15 a.m. April 3, police were dispatched to 3507 Century Drive, where they found Daye stabbed in the torso. Police took Mangum to jail, where she remains on a $200,000 bond.
Daye was taken to Duke University Hospital, where he died 10 days later.
Sidney Harr, a Mangum supporter and a retired physician, contends Daye didn’t die from complications from the stab wound, as listed in autopsy report, but from a “mistake” made by Duke staff.
Medical Examiner Clay Nichols said he stands by his report concluding Daye’s death resulted from the stab wound.
In July 2011, a judge awarded custody of Mangum’s two children, ages 13 and 12, to their father, who lives in West Virginia, and banned the children from visiting with Mangum at the jail.
Mangum’s 5-year-old daughter with a second man still visits her, she said.
To pass the time in jail, Mangum, who graduated from N.C. Central University in 2007 and was enrolled in graduate school there until she was charged with arson in 2010, reads the Bible and books on law and psychology, which she studied in school, she said. She walks around the fifth-floor jail pod for exercise, and is working on a second book, she said. She takes medicine for anxiety, pain, and nightmares, she said. Before her most recent arrest she was days away from a nursing assistant certification from a Guess Road facility, she said.
Mangum and her supporters blame her current situation on the lacrosse case and her need for male approval and a home for her children. Mangum said never thought Walker or Daye would hurt her.
“I now realize that I need to be on my own, and I need to take care of my kids on my own,” Mangum said. “I’ve always felt like I need to be validated by a man, and I would take anything that I got as long as I was being validated.”