Crystal Mangum, convicted in 2013 of murdering a man with whom she shared a Durham apartment, is asking the state Court of Appeals to order a new trial because of testimony allowed at her first one.
Chapel Hill attorney Ann B. Petersen filed the latest paperwork in the appeal on Mangum’s behalf on Monday.
Mangum gained national notoriety after she accused a group of Duke University lacrosse players of raping her at an off-campus team party where she was performing as a dancer. The state later exonerated the players and apologized for efforts by former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong to prosecute them.
A jury convicted Mangum on Nov. 22, 2013, of murdering Reginald Daye, who died a few days after she stabbed him on April 3, 2011. She was sentenced to 13 to 18 years in prison.
The appeal, for which Petersen began paperwork earlier this year, argues that testimony at Mangum’s trial about a dispute she and another man had in February 2010 should not have been allowed.
Prosecutors argued at her trial that the testimony showed behavior similar to a fight before Daye was stabbed.
Daye told police before he died that Mangum had attacked him. Mangum said she stabbed Daye in self-defense.
Petersen is asking the appellate court to rule that the 2010 dispute was brought up only to show the jury Mangum’s “bad character” and that the 2010 and 2011 incidents were different enough situations that the jury should not have heard about the earlier one.
Mangum’s appeal says Judge Paul C. Ridgeway was wrong when he “ruled that the 2010 incident was substantially similar to the events that were the basis for the murder charge.”
The state argued that it is OK to bring up previous behavior if two incidents are enough alike to raise suspicion.
One case the state cited involved a woman who was arrested because her first and second husbands both died of single gunshots from a .25-caliber pistol in what she said were accidents and both had life insurance policies that paid her.