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Former Co-Worker Talks About Duke LAX Accuser
Eyewitness News Exclusive
WTVD By Tamara Gibbs
(11/14/06 - DURHAM) - A former nightclub manager shares new information about the accuser in the Duke lacrosse rape case. She sheds light on the days before and after the alleged attack.
Also on abc11tv.com:
Send Us Your Tips | Real-time Traffic | AccuWeather Forecast Yolanda Haynes a former nightclub manager and a woman who knows the accuser says she originally spoke to the media to defend the accuser, but now she finds herself in the national spotlight.
“I know people are saying, ‘What is she doing on TV?’” Haynes said. Expecting some criticism for her first interview with Eyewitness News, Haynes says she was compelled to speak on behalf of the alleged victim.
“I really actually felt sorry for her. I really did,” she said.
Haynes says reports that the accuser was at an adult entertainment club she managed the day after the alleged assault and claims that she intended to extort money from Duke lacrosse players are not true.
“I do know she didn’t say anything about no money or that she was trying to sue or anything like that,” Hayes explained.
Haynes wouldn’t call herself a close friend of the alleged victim, but she says she knows her well enough to be concerned.
On March 11th, Haynes says the accuser passed out in the dressing room of the Platinum Club.
“She’s leaned up against the wall naked with her arms sprawled out,” Haynes said.
She never saw the alleged victim drink that night. Haynes says it took four people to carry the unconscious dancer to her boyfriend’s car. She explains that they dropped the dancer on a gravel parking lot that night.
“We dropped her a couple of times just because she was getting heavy,” Haynes said.
Defense motions say a scratch on the alleged victim’s knee and a small cut on her heel were found. Did it come from the fall just days before the alleged attack? Haynes says she can’t say.
“I’d rather not talk to the defense. I’d rather not talk to the prosecution, because of the simple fact I was not there at that house,” Haynes said. “I can only talk about her performance at the club.”
She says she has fielded numerous media calls and now is regretful for coming forward. Haynes wonders if the attempts to help the alleged victim may actually hurt the woman.
“I hope the boys, if they did it, I hope they get punished. And if they didn’t I hope she gets some help,” she said.
Haynes says none of the attorneys on either side of the case have contacted her. She has not spoken to the police.
Calls Eyewitness News made to several attorneys were not returned.
Nifong: DNA “Excludes” (Except When It Doesn’t)
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Nifong: DNA “Excludes” (Except When It Doesn’t)
DNA results, said Mike Nifong on April 11, can often be helpful, but, you know, Ive been doing this for a long time, and most of the years Ive been doing this, we didnt have DNA. We had to deal with sexual assault cases the good old-fashioned way. Witnesses got on the stand and told what happened to them.
As noted on Monday, Nifong failed follow this approach in a 1989 gang rape allegation that he oversaw. Then, police tested the accusers credibilityin part by having the person supervising the investigation actually speak to the accuser. When embarrassing contradictions in her story were discovered, Nifong dropped the charges. The accuser never got on the stand and told what happened to [her]. Instead, the prosecutor exercised discretion, as he is required to do under the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct.
In fact, before the DNA results failed to give him what he needed politically in the lacrosse case, Nifong seemed to believe exactly the opposite of what he suggested on April 11. In a 2000 case, he maintained that since DNA evidence trumped witness identifications, DNA tests couldand shouldexclude the falsely accused.
In early 2000, two rapes occurred in the Trinity Park neighborhood, off Dukes east campus. Acting under strong pressure from the Trinity Park community, police charged a black homeless man, Leroy Summers, based solely on an identification from the second woman who was raped. According to the April 8, 2000, edition of the Herald-Sun, Ed Sarvis (last heard from confirming that the DPD has an official policy of disproportionately meting out punishment to Duke students) expressed confidence in the departments actionsalthough, he added, were still in the process of collecting probable cause. Summers could not meet his $150,000 bail.
Maybe the police should have tried a little harder to ascertain probable cause before making an arrest. After Summers was charged, the police sent a rape kit to the State Bureau of Investigation lab. Lacking any political pressure for a fast turnaround, the lab took more than three months to perform its tests. When the results came in, no match existed for Summers DNA. But a male DNA specimen was found. Technicians ran the result through a national crime database, revealing the DNA of Jeffrey Lamont McNeill, who subsequently was charged with the crime.
According to the July 12, 2000 N&O, the prosecutor issued a definitive written statement: Results of DNA testing exclude the defendant as the perpetrator of this crime.
The prosecutors name: Mike Nifong.
In 2000, then, Nifong viewed DNA as so important that it would exclude someone he had already charged with the crime, someone who the victim had identified. (And yes, in this case, there was a real victim.) By 2006, not only had Nifong abandoned his position on DNA (even as most others in law enforcement have become more reliant on DNA evidence), but, on April 10, in a conversation with Dr. Brian Meehan, he contended that a finding of other males DNA was not even potentially exculpatory for defendants, and therefore should be excluded from Meehans report.
Nifong isnt the only case-related figure to have performed a 180-degree change between the Summers case and the lacrosse case. Writing in the July 11, 2000 Herald-Sun, John Stevenson penned an article on the Summers dismissal framed wholly around the unreliability of eyewitness IDs vis-à-vis DNA evidence.
According to Stevenson,
The Samuels case is not the first time a Durham rape victim reportedly identified the wrong man.
Veteran lawyer Tom Loflin told The Herald-Sun two weeks ago that he once defended a rape suspect who ultimately was cleared by DNA evidence.
According to Loflin, the suspect was accused of raping a woman who lived near him in an apartment complex. The victim said the man broke into her apartment, brutally raped her and then returned to his own apartment.
Loflin said the victim claimed to be certain of her identification. So Loflins client was indicted.
But before the case went to trial, a DNA analysis cleared the suspect, even though DNA testing was not as sophisticated then as it is now, Loflin said.
I have no reason to think this woman would lie, Loflin added. I think she was just outright mistaken.
Loflin said academic studies have proven that, in general, eyewitness testimony is enormously unreliable.
Only a tiny fraction of eyewitnesses get it correct, Loflin said. This now has been established by DNA testing.
Nevertheless, juries still tend to think that eyewitness testimony is the strongest form of evidence, even though it actually is the weakest, Loflin contended.
You have juries believing victims and other eyewitnesses who are notoriously unreliable, he said. Juries really need to be educated that eyewitnesses are extremely shaky. Its dangerous to convict someone on their testimony if there is no corroborating evidence, such as fingerprints or DNA.
It appears that Stevenson, much like Nifong, has changed his mind about the value of DNA and the sanctity of even the most unreliable and procedurally flawed eyewitness identifications.
In a June letter to the New York Times, St. Louis attorney Thomas Schlafly offered a stinging rebuke of Nifongs old-fashioned comment:
Theres a big difference between convicting a defendant without DNA evidence because the technology did not exist and convicting a defendant when DNA evidence is available and the DNA results are negative.
In the first instance, there would have been no DNA evidence to counter the testimony of witnesses. In the second, such DNA evidence exists and is exculpatory.
It turns out the actual situation is even worse than Schlafly imagined.
Based on his conduct in the Summers case, Nifong once believed that when DNA evidence exists and is exculpatory, rape charges must be dropped. After his pre-primary publicity barrage, however, his beliefs clashed with his personal and political needs. And so, in early April, Nifong would deem irrelevant for Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann the same type of test results that freed Leroy Summers, while the district attorney joined Meehan to do everything they could to ensure that these results would never see the light of day.
The Nifong motto:
In 2000, the DNA excludes; in 2006, exclude the DNA.
Labels: Nifong, procedure
posted by KC Johnson at 12:01 AM
9.20.02 - Ok, you tell me if this doesn’t sound weird: There’s a trial going on right now in Durham, according to the Herald-Sun, in which DNA samples taken from a man accused of rape don’t match DNA samples taken from inside the victim. This unusual fact has not stopped the Durham District Attorney’s office from prosecuting the man, whose name is Leon Brown. Brown’s defense lawyer, Douglas Simons, claimed in his opening statement that there was incriminating evidence against someone else - the victim’s cousin:
[Simons] told jurors that Brown voluntarily gave DNA samples that did not match samples from the victim. Nor did pubic hairs surrendered by Brown match...In addition, the victim initially told authorities that she thought her white cousin was the intruder, according to Simons. When the cousin was arrested, duct tape and other incriminating items were found in his car and on his property...District Attorney Jim Hardin Jr. gave the cousin “complete immunity” to testify against Brown, Simons told jurors. “He wanted a deal,” Simons said of the cousin. “He got it.”
Defense attorneys say all kinds of things, of course - only some of them true - so we have to be careful here. But let’s see if we have this right: The white cousin who was initially fingered by the rape victim strikes a deal for immunity with the D.A. in order to testify against a black guy whose DNA doesn’t match the DNA found inside the victim? Is that really what this article is telling us? It’s difficult to understand why the guy being charged with rape is apparently not the one whose semen was found inside the victim. Prosecutor Tracey Cline told the jury that her evidence will be sufficient to convince them that Brown was the rapist. We’ll see if they agree; the trial is expected to end this week. [link]
10.2.02 - Update on that Durham rape trial where the DNA from the man being prosecuted by District Attorney Jim Hardin’s office didn’t match the facts of the case. The Herald-Sun’s John Stevenson followed up last week; the suspect, who’d spent a full year in jail awaiting trial, was completely acquitted of all charges [reg’n req’d]. That’s not all. The jury foreman, Howard Williams, Jr., had extremely harsh words for the prosecution, describing the trial as “a waste of time”:
“We all wondered what we were doing there,” he said of himself and fellow jurors. “The evidence was nonexistent. We’re very comfortable with the decision we made. I can’t understand why that man spent a year in jail when there was no evidence whatsoever against him. It made no sense to us. Where’s the justice?”
Surely something’s wrong when a jury foreman calls out the D.A.’s office for locking someone up for a year with “no evidence whatsoever.” Given the strange deal-making in the case, is it fair to wonder what on earth prosecutor Tracey Cline - who still insists she had the right man - was thinking? And is it fair to wonder - without engaging in moronic cop-bashing - how often this kind of thing happens in Durham, or in other Triangle jurisdictions? I think it is. [link]
Mangum’s life: conflict, contradictions
Accuser struggled with mental illness, alcohol
Craig Jarvis, Staff Writer
Crystal Gail Mangum insists she was sexually assaulted at a Duke lacrosse team party, even though the state attorney general dropped all charges this week because of a lack of evidence and her conflicting versions.
Mangum isn’t offering an explanation. She continues to avoid reporters as she has in the year since she first claimed she was raped by three athletes. Even the people who know her only obscure the picture with their own contradictions about who she is.
But interviews and records obtained by The News & Observer make this much clear: The 28-year-old woman has struggled with poverty, alcohol abuse and psychological instability. In recent years she turned to therapists for help with bipolar disorder and other mental problems and took anti-psychotic medication.
As N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper said at Wednesday’s news conference, the special prosecutors and State Bureau of Investigation agents who interviewed her concluded that “she may actually believe the many different stories that she has been telling.”
Her emotional problems surfaced as a teenager.
She was 14 when she took up with a man twice her age. Three years after that, in 1996, she told police that the boyfriend had “shared” her sexually with three friends in a trailer home on a country road in Creedmoor. She filed a police report but never provided a written account of what happened, as an officer had requested, and the case was not pursued.
Still, she wrote about the incident in her diary, according to a boyfriend who told police he came across the entry in 2000.
Her parents say the assault left her depressed and that she saw a therapist for a year after and took prescription medicine. But they insist she didn’t suffer lasting psychological damage.
Crystal Mangum enlisted in the Navy in 1997, the year after she graduated from Hillside High School, and married a man 14 years her senior while in training school in Virginia. Her Navy stint was tumultuous and brief.
Soon after being assigned to an ammunition ship in California in January 1998, Mangum began a relationship with a fellow sailor, Richard Ramseier, and she quickly became pregnant. Within six months she was abruptly discharged for reasons that have not been made public, although it wasn’t because she was pregnant.
She gave birth to a son in February 1999, and 14 months later had another child, a girl. The couple broke up after she returned to Durham in 2000, and he remained in the Navy on the West Coast.
Ramseier declined to talk with The N&O about Mangum, other than to say he wasn’t aware of any psychological problems she might have had.
Mangum had tried several jobs but she discovered that dancing in strip clubs was a quicker way to make a living. Still, it made her uneasy and she turned to her family’s minister for advice.
“The first time she came to me I said, ‘Girl, you’re just opening yourself up to a wild pack with this exotic dancing,” said Delois Burnette, Mangum’s former minister who has known her since she was a child. “They’re drinking, and they don’t know their head from their tail.”
Burnette eventually realized that Mangum also had a drinking problem. She had been arrested in 2000 for driving while impaired, although she wasn’t convicted. Court records reflect that she later lost her driver’s license but don’t indicate how. Her boyfriend, Matthew Murchison, then 32, had just gotten out of state prison on a conviction as an habitual drunken driver.
Then in 2002 came a night of bizarre behavior that would be repeated in the coming years, including at the lacrosse party. That night in 2002, she appeared coherent one moment and falling-down intoxicated the next. She had been performing at a Durham strip club late on a Thursday night, and while fondling a customer who was a taxi driver she slipped his keys out of his pocket, according to a Durham County Sheriff’s Office report.
She sneaked outside and, without turning on the headlights, drove off in the taxi and led deputies on a tire-screeching chase over five miles until she crashed. She laughed at a deputy who approached on foot and tried to run him over, the deputy wrote in his report.
When she was finally taken into custody, deputies said she kept trying to lie down and finally passed out cold. She was taken to the hospital, where she slept it off. She had more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in her system.
Mangum turned once again to Burnette, asking her for money to help her pay for the damage to the taxi and to a patrol car. After pleading guilty to misdemeanors, she spent two weekends in jail and was ordered to find treatment for substance abuse.
“She is a very mild-mannered, very attractive young girl who made mistakes in life because of the influence of alcohol,” Burnette said. “I told her, ‘This is not a way of life. You’ve got children.’ “
Checked into hospital
By 2005, Mangum recognized she was having problems. For one week that year she left her children with her parents and checked into a private mental health hospital in Raleigh.
Her father, Travis Mangum, and a cousin, Jackie Yancey, said she felt she needed help handling stress.
“It just became too much,” Yancey said. “She tried to please others to a fault.”
Around that time Mangum also began showing up at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill with a variety of complaints, including depression and anxiety, according to hospital records the district attorney subpoenaed in the lacrosse case.
The records indicate that she had a long history of psychological problems, including being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and that she named two anti-psychotic drugs that she had been prescribed. People with bipolar disorder experience swings in behavior.
Over the next year she danced nights at a strip club, attended daytime classes at N.C. Central University and squeezed in odd hours working as an escort.
Escort services send women to male callers for “companionship” or dancing for a flat rate. The companies typically skirt prostitution charges by claiming they’re not responsible if their escorts engage in sex with a client. Mangum has never been arrested for prostitution.
In early 2006, she began dancing under the name “Precious” at The Platinum Club, a rundown strip joint in the countryside between Durham and Hillsborough. Yolanda Haynes, The Platinum Club’s manager at the time, told investigators that Mangum seemed mentally unstable and appeared to be under the influence of drugs or drink whenever she was there.
She also got into fights with other dancers and with patrons, Haynes wrote in an affidavit in connection with the lacrosse case, and was repeatedly told to stop engaging in sexual contact with customers. One night, Haynes wrote, Mangum had to be separated from a female customer after making unwanted sexual advances to her. Mangum then walked into a back room, took off her clothes and passed out, Haynes said.
Club owner Victor Olatoye insists she collapsed from exhaustion. When workers put her on the couch, over-the-counter stimulants fell out of her purse, he told The N&O, and so he surmised that she had gone without sleep for a long time.
In the days leading up to the lacrosse party on March 13, 2006, Mangum frequently checked in with at least eight escort services, according to phone records that were subpoenaed in the case. She spent the weekend of the party with a friend, Jarriel Johnson, 32, of Raleigh, who drove her to a blur of escort appointments in hotels in Durham and Raleigh, he told police.
On the night of the party, Mangum has alternately said she was sober, that she drank two 22-ounce Icehouse beers and that she was drunk. At the party she seemed sober when she arrived but later collapsed and had to be helped into a car.
She struggled with an officer who tried to remove her from the car and then collapsed in the parking lot. When examined by medical workers later that night she was alternately incoherent and lucid.
‘She had dreams’
Mangum only wanted a job, an education and a family, pastor Burnette and Yancey said. “She had dreams like any other young girl,” Burnette said, but never had people around her who could help her financially or emotionally.
Her parents, who come from generations of Durham residents, have struggled to make ends meet for a long time, declaring bankruptcy four times in six years as they raised three children.
Travis Mangum, 63, is a retired long-distance trucker who has spent the past year doing what he did before the national news media arrived at his front door — working on his cars and on those left by friends who ask him to help them out with repairs. Behind him, the 50-year-old house that her parents rent looks like a smudged little white box, closed tight against the world.
Mangum’s parents and older brother and sister share this three-bedroom home south of downtown Durham, worth only $64,000. If there are answers inside, they are guarded at the front door.
During frequent visits by an N&O reporter this year, Mary Mangum, 61, has been friendly and willing to provide short answers but no explanations. Her husband enjoys making small talk and he likes to chat about his daughter, but his memory is unreliable. They insist they have never seen her act unstable.
Her brother, Travis “TJ” Jr., 36, is a large, affably eager man who offers a lot of opinions about his sister. But his father frequently corrects him.
“I might be wrong but I feel my sister had to grow up too fast,” TJ said. “She was under a lot of stress. She lost her mind one time.”
“She didn’t lose her mind,” his father said, referring to the incident in Creedmoor. “She was just depressed and got counseling.”
In the shadows
In the past year Crystal Mangum has disappeared into the shadows. In the beginning, authorities put her up in a safe house — a sprawling townhouse complex on Chapel Hill Street — but she has reportedly stayed in several friends’ and relatives’ homes in the Triangle since then. She has dropped out of NCCU.
She is living off welfare and child-support payments but probably hasn’t been dancing because she was pregnant most of the past year. Her mother says a lawyer may have helped her out with money to live on.
The people she had spent the most time with a year ago refuse to talk about her. Johnson and another man who drove her around, Brian Taylor, 28, of Durham, declined interview requests from The N&O this year. Murchison also refused requests to talk about his girlfriend.
Last April, Crystal Mangum told a detective that both of her children were having emotional problems because of the case, according to police. Yancey, her cousin, said at least one of her aunts has helped take care of them, and that Mangum has spent time away from the children to protect them from what has happened.
Her son is now 8; her daughter turned 7 on Thursday. On the afternoon of Feb. 3, she gave birth to a girl at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. She listed Murchison as the baby’s father.
If her aunts have given refuge to Mangum or her children, they are not talking. Her parents say they don’t know where their daughter and grandchildren have been staying.
On Thursday, Yancey said she was puzzled that the authorities think Mangum is so delusional that she mistakenly thinks she was raped. Yancey says she never saw nor heard of behavior that extreme from her cousin.
Yancey says she has seen Mangum a few times and talked to her on the phone frequently. She said she spoke with her cousin this week, and that Mangum accepted the charges being dropped.
“She’s just glad it’s over with,” Yancey said.
(Staff writers Joseph Neff and Samiha Khanna and news researcher Brooke Cain contributed to this report.)
Staff writer Craig Jarvis can be reached at 829-4576 or email@example.com.
Staff writers Joseph Neff and Samiha Khanna and news researcher Brooke Cain contributed to this report.
Police Charge Two Men With Deadly Shooting Near Southpoint Mall
Harvey Denard Wiggins Killed Monday
POSTED: 10:55 pm EST November 29, 2004
UPDATED: 7:19 pm EST November 30, 2004
DURHAM, N.C. — Durham police have charged two men with murder in connection with a deadly shooting in a parking lot behind Southpoint Cinema at the Streets At Southpoint Mall Monday night.
Officers responded to a shooting call at 8:52 p.m. and found a male who had been shot in the head. The man, identified as 23-year-old Harvey Denard Wiggins of Raleigh, was taken to Duke University Hospital, where he later died.
Julius Earl Gray, 24, of Loft Lane in Raleigh, was taken into custody following the shooting Monday night and was charged with murder on Tuesday.
Police are looking for another man, Barry Ford Evans, 22, of 202 East Club Boulevard in Durham. Officers executed a search warrant at his home Tuesday afternoon, but no one was home.
Investigators are trying to locate Evans, who is considered armed and dangerous. Evans frequents the Greystone subdivision/Lynn Road area in eastern Durham.
Harvey Denard Wiggins
Harvey Denard Wiggins
Police say the shooting occurred inside a car, which was parked in an isolated area of the parking lot. Officers said there did not appear to be any other people in the immediate area when the shooting occurred. Investigators have not determined a motive.
Authorities say Wiggins had a prior criminal history involving five different counties in North Carolina.
Rick Polley, vice president/general manager at The Streets at Southpoint, released a statement about the shooting:
“Our deepest sympathy goes out to the person’s family. We have been advised by the Durham Police Department that this was an isolated incident inside a vehicle between two people who seemed to know each other. The safety and well-being of our shoppers, retailers and employees are always our top concerns. We have welcomed over 40 million visitors since our opening on March 8, 2002, and we invest heavily in our Public Safety initiatives commensurate with that level of visitation. We have always been and will continue to be proactive with this component of our operation.”
Mall officials say the shooting will not change any security plans already in place for the holidays.
“We’re always very concerned about the experience and safety of the patrons at the mall and we will continue to do so. Given the holiday season, we always look at ways we can ensure the safety of our patrons,” mall spokesman Carl Webb said.
Meanwhile, customers are not letting the incident affect their shopping at the mall.
“I figured it was a one-time ordeal, and it really wasn’t going to stop me,” shopper Judy Brown said.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Durham police investigators at (919) 560-4440, ext. 235 or CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200.
CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.
Mall shooting murder charge is dismissed<
By John Stevenson : The Herald-Sun
Nov 28, 2006 : 9:24 pm ET
DURHAM — A murder charge stemming from a fatal shooting outside The Streets at Southpoint mall was dismissed Tuesday, and the suspect pleaded guilty instead to a minor drug charge and received probation.
Julius Gray was sentenced to two years of supervised probation and fined $200 after admitting he had conspired to sell marijuana. A suspended prison term of four to five months was left hanging over his head and could be activated if he violates any conditions of probation.
Gray and another man had been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Harvey Dennard Wiggins, who was shot outside The Streets at Southpoint two years ago this week while the mall was thronged with holiday shoppers. No one else was injured.
The gunfire reportedly was sparked by a drug deal gone sour.
Another suspect in the case, 24-year-old Barry Ford Evans, got a plea deal last month for a drastically reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter. He also received probation.
Evans originally was accused of first-degree murder, for which the only possible punishments are death or life in prison without parole.
Assistant District Attorney Mitchell Garrell said in court Tuesday that he frequently consulted with Wiggins’ family and analyzed the case for hours before coming up with plea deals for Gray and Evans.
Garrell said he promised the victim’s mother that if she wanted the suspects prosecuted to the fullest extend of the law, he would take them to trial.
“She came to me tearfully and asked me to plead these cases on this basis,” Garrell added, referring to the probationary penalties.
Citing official reports, Garrell said it appeared Wiggins went to the mall to purchase “a relatively large amount of marijuana” from Gray and Evans. “He put in progress a series of events that ended in tragedy.”
According to Garrell, Wiggins was in the front passenger seat of a car in the mall parking lot, with Evans behind him and Gray at the steering wheel. At some point, Evans apparently pulled out a handgun and shot Wiggins in the head, the prosecutor said.
Garrell gave Gray credit for remaining at the scene and calling for help even after Evans fled.
“He has cooperated from the beginning,” said Garrell.
Defense lawyer Bill Thomas said Gray was an N.C. Central University junior with bright prospects at the time of the incident.
“This case has shattered his dreams and ambitions,” Thomas added, noting that Gray had no previous criminal history.
“Mr. Gray admits to full responsibility for his role in the attempted sale of marijuana,” said Thomas. “But his role was merely to be the driver.”
Gray didn’t even stand to gain much money from the drug deal, according to Thomas.
“Mr. Wiggins pulled a weapon in the car and was going to shoot Mr. Evans,” the defense lawyer said. “Then Mr. Wiggins got shot. It’s a horrible tragedy without any question.”