Durham attorney wants off Mangum murder case

jwise@newsobserver.comAugust 29, 2013 

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Crystal Gail Mangum

CHUCK LIDDY — cliddy@newsobserver.com

— Scott Holmes, Crystal Mangum’s attorney in her upcoming murder trial, has asked to withdraw from the case due to a conflict of interest.

Mangum, though, wants him to stay on.

Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway is due to make a ruling Friday morning.

Mangum is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her then-boyfriend, Reginald Daye, who died 10 days after she stabbed him in April 2011.

Mangum gained national notoriety in 2006 when she accused three Duke lacrosse players of rape. The charges were eventually discredited.

In a hearing earlier this week, Holmes told Ridgeway he was “withdrawing reluctantly,” because another attorney at the N.C. Central University Civil Litigation Clinic, which Holmes directs, is representing a client “adverse” to Mangum in a case “having to do with a family matter.” Holmes did not elaborate.

Mangum said “this information was available” to Holmes before he offered to take her case in March. Ridgeway told Holmes to contact the other client and the State Bar to see whether the conflict could be waived, and return with an answer at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

“I want to keep the scheduling on this case on track; that is important to me,” said Ridgeway, who is to preside when Mangum’s trial opens Nov. 12.

Mangum dismissed two earlier court-appointed lawyers and for some months acted as her own counsel. When she requested a third, in March, Holmes offered to take her case.

Mangum also asked Ridgeway to order Holmes to give her a report by pathologist Christena Roberts, who reviewed Daye’s autopsy. Mangum has said the report substantiates her claim that Daye died from an error by Duke Hospital staff.

Medical examiner Clay Nichols has said he stands by his original conclusion that the stab wound was the cause of death.

“I’ve been trying to get this information for 12 months plus,” Mangum said, adding that it was the source of problems with her previous lawyers.

Ridgeway told her to discuss the report with Holmes. “That matter’s not before me,” he said.

Wise: 919-641-5895

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