DURHAM — Will a jury believe Crystal Mangum was defending herself when she stabbed her live-in boyfriend during a fight at his apartment on April 3, 2011?
On Wednesday afternoon, both the state and the defense rested after presenting their evidence. Following closing arguments and the judge’s instructions about the law, the jury will begin deliberating. The verdict sheet will give the jurors four choices: guilty of first-degree murder, guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of voluntary manslaughter or not guilty.
Mangum is accused of murdering Reginald Daye by stabbing him in the chest. Daye, 46, died April 13, 2011, at Duke Hospital from complications from the stab wound, a medical examiner testified.
Mangum took the stand Wednesday morning in her own defense and testified she stabbed Daye as he was holding her down and strangling her in the master bedroom of his apartment.
The jurors also heard Daye’s version of events through the investigator who interviewed him twice at the hospital before he died.
In both versions of the incident, Mangum and Daye said they began arguing after they came home from a party and Mangum talked to a police officer who was parked near Daye’s apartment.
They both said that Daye became angry at Mangum and that he said she disrespected him by having contact with other men. They both said the argument escalated into a physical fight.
They also both said that at one point during the fight, Mangum ran into the bathroom, locked the door and that Daye kicked in the door and dragged Mangum out by her hair.
Their stories, however, differed when they talked about the actual stabbing. Daye told the investigator that Mangum had repeatedly tried to stab him and that she finally stabbed him in the side of his chest as he stood in the hallway and was turning to leave the apartment.
Mangum testified that Daye was the one who brought knives into the fight and that he threw them at her as she tried to hide behind a mattress. She stabbed him, she said, after he dragged her out of the bathroom and was straddling her and trying to strangle her.
“I couldn’t breathe. My airway was cut off, and I felt my head was going to explode,” Mangum testified. “I grabbed a knife, and I poked him in the side.”
Mangum told the jurors that she then grabbed her purse and ran out of the apartment to a nearby apartment complex, where her children were staying with a family friend.
The jurors earlier saw photographs of Daye’s apartment, which showed serrated steak knives, some broken and some not, scattered throughout the apartment, including several in the master bedroom.
After Mangum testified, her attorney, Daniel Meier, called Kit Gruelle, a domestic-violence expert. She told the jury why some women stay in violent relationships.
Gruelle told the jury she believed that childhood sexual abuse affected Mangum and that she saw a pattern of Mangum being involved in abusive relationships.
Assistant District Attorney Charlene Franks challenged Gruelle, asking if men could be victims of abuse. Gruelle said yes but added that 85 percent of the cases involve men abusing women.
Franks asked Gruelle if Martin Walker, one of Mangum’s previous boyfriends, was the victim of abuse at the hands of Mangum.
Walker earlier testified that he got into an argument with Mangum and grabbed her by the neck. She then attacked him with a chair, a step stool, cut the tires of his car, smashed his windshield and lunged over a police officer screaming she was going to stab and kill him, he said.