Feb. 18, 2010— -- The woman who was at the center of the phony Duke lacrosse rape case was arrested today and charged with attempted murder.
The Durham Police Department told ABC News that Crystal Gale Mangum got into an argument with her boyfriend, Milton Walker, shortly after midnight on Thursday.
The arrest warrant claims that Mangum, 33, scratched, punched and threw objects at Walker before taking all of his clothes and setting them on fire in a bath tub. Firefighters were sent to the home to extinguish the blaze.
Listen to the 911 call HERE.
Police said they had to evacuate three children, ages 10, 9 and 3, from the apartment because of the fire. It was not immediately known whose children they were.
Mangum is charged with first-degree attempted murder for communicating a threat because she allegedly told Walker in front of officers, "I'm going to stab you [expletive]!"
She was also charged with five counts of arson, simple assault, identity theft, damage to property and resist, delay and obstruction of justice. In addition, she faces three counts of child endangerment.
Mangum is being held without bond and her first court appearance is scheduled for today.
Mangum triggered a furor in 2006 when she accused three Duke Lacrosse players of raping her while working at an off campus party. Prosecutor Mike Nifong heightened the seriousness of the charges by declaring the alleged assault a hate crime.
The charges against the three, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, were eventually dropped, but not before it roiled race relations in the university town and the players were suspended from school.
Another member of the team said in an email response to ABC News "All I can really say is that, like everyone, she has the right to due process and is innocent until proven guilty."
Nifong pursued the prosecution vigorously despite the growing evidence that Mangum had lied about being sexually assaulted and despite the fact that Magnum changed key facts in her version of what happened.
Duke Lacrosse Prosecutor Mike Nifong Reacts
As pressure mounted and the accuser's account of the alleged attack began to fall apart in late 2006, Nifong asked the state attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor, as Nifong was by then the target of an ethics investigation by the state bar association for his handling of the prosecution. In April, 2007 North Carolina State Attorney General Roy Cooper dropped all charges against the students.
Three months later, Nifong resigned as district attorney, just days before he was found guilty of a battery of ethics violations and disbarred at a dramatic state bar association disciplinary hearing. A tearful Nifong publicly apologized to the three players.
Reached by ABC News today, Nifong initially said he doubted press reports about Mangum's arrest, saying he found news reports "to be of questionable value."
When told that police had confirmed the charges against Magnum, Nifong said, "I'm not involved in the district attorney's office in any way. I'm not involved in law enforcement in any way, so I don't really know that I have anything to say."
Asked whether Mangum's arrest gave him any new regrets about prosecuting the Duke students, Nifong sighed audibly and said, "I don't really have any comment for you at all on this" and hung up.
Brooklyn law professor K.C. Johnson, a legal blogger whose exhaustive, daily coverage of the case produced one caustic critique of the D.A's prosecution after another, said on Thursday that Mangum's arrest could revive one the last remaining mysteries of the case – the contents of Mangum's 1000-page mental health file.
Nifong had access to the file throughout the case, but it was only turned over to defense lawyers by the judge, under seal, late in the case. It's contents have never been disclosed publicly.
"If this case against Mangum goes to trial, one likely avenue of defense would be mental health impairment, so we might finally learn just how serious Mangum's mental health problems, which Mike Nifong ignored to bring his case, actually were," Johnson told ABC News' Law & Justice Unit.