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Former Duke lacrosse accuser now faces murder charge

By Ned Barnett

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - The woman whose false accusations of sexual assault against Duke University lacrosse players drew national attention has been indicted on a murder charge after the death of a man she allegedly stabbed.

A grand jury indicted Crystal Gail Mangum, 32, in Durham, North Carolina, on Monday. She will have her first hearing on the charge the week of May 2, the Durham District Attorney's Office said on Tuesday.

Mangum has been held in the Durham County jail since her April 3 arrest following the stabbing of boyfriend, Reginald Daye. She originally faced a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

Daye, 46, died April 13 at Duke University Hospital, where he was being treated for multiple stab wounds to the torso.

Woody Vann, an attorney appointed to represent Mangum in the stabbing case, was replaced this week by private attorney Chris Shella. Shella declined to say who retained him.

The delay in Daye's death may complicate the murder prosecution. Vann said there has been speculation about the cause of death, which won't be known until an autopsy report is released.

Shella would not comment on the cause of death.

"All I can tell you is my client asserts her innocence, and I plan on mounting a vigorous defense on her behalf," Shella said.

The murder charge comes five years after Mangum accused three Duke lacrosse players of sexually assaulting her at a team party she attended as a hired stripper on March 13, 2006.

The case drew national attention, mixing explosive elements of race, sex and class. But it fell apart as players effectively rebutted Mangum's claims and were declared innocent after a review led by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

In December, Mangum faced felony arson and lesser charges related to a domestic dispute. She was convicted on the lesser charges and sentenced to the 88 days in jail she had already served awaiting trial.

(Edited by Colleen Jenkins and Greg McCune)

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