Duke lacrosse case will figure in murder jury questionnaire

Nov. 06, 2013 @ 04:14 PM

Questions about the 2006 Duke University lacrosse case will be part of a questionnaire prospective jurors will get next week when Crystal Mangum's murder trial starts.

A Durham County Superior Court judge said Wednesday during pre-trial motions that the quiz would help determine if those called to serve on Mangum's trial have heard about the lacrosse case, and if so, whether they can serve impartially.

Mangum, who made false allegations of rape against Duke lacrosse players, is charged in the April 2011 stabbing death of her boyfriend, 46-year-old Reginald Daye.

Judge Paul Ridgeway of Wake County said an estimated 70 prospective jurors are expected when jury selection begins Tuesday.

He said he wants a short questionnaire asking would-be jurors if they're aware of the lacrosse case, where they learned about it and whether they have strong opinions about Mangum in connection with it.

Ridgeway asked Mangum's attorney, Daniel Meier, and assistant district attorney Charlene Coggins-Franks to work together on the questionnaire and try to have it ready for him to review by Friday.

Much of Wednesday's discussion centered on whether the lacrosse case will come out in court.

Meier said that the Duke case is unrelated to the murder charge and shouldn't be part of the trial. But Coggins-Franks said that she's prepared to introduce evidence in the lacrosse matter if the defense "opens the door" by discussing Mangum's character and credibility.

Ridgeway asked her to let him know in advance if she plans that line of questioning.

Meier also alluded to Mangum's arrest in 2010 on arson and other charges, pointing out that she was not convicted on the arson charge, and that evidence in that matter should not be introduced at trial.

But Coggins-Franks said she plans to introduce evidence from that case about Mangum's behavior when Durham police officers tried to arrest her.

On Feb. 17, 2010, police were called to Mangum's home by her 9-year-old daughter. They reported finding Mangum and her live-in boyfriend fighting. Officers said she set fire to some of his clothes in a bathtub.

On Dec. 17, 2010, Mangum was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, injury to personal property and resisting a public officer in connection with that case. A jury deadlocked on the arson charge.

She was sentenced to 88 days in jail.