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Victim’s widower forgives Mangum as he enters plea

Revised on: 08.3.2018 at 11:15 a.m.

Posted on: 07.24.2018 at 12:12 p.m.

When Eric Thomas Mangum pleaded guilty Monday to the Feb.26, 2017 death of Debra Hardin, the victim’s husband forgave Mangum.

Mangum was driving his nearly-brand new Dodge sports car in excess of 90 miles an hour on U.S. 74 when he struck Hardin’s vehicle at the Boardman intersection. Hardin was turning onto the highway from Macedonia Church Road.

Magnum, 31, of Fuquay-Varina, was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter, and received the maximum sentence. He was sentenced to 19-32 months in prison, with 36 months probation and 100 hours community service. His driver’s license is permanently suspended for four years, and he may not drive except for work.

District Attorney Jon David said the sentence was the maximum available for the crimes.

“The victim’s family was present in the courtroom and was pleased with the outcome,” David said.

Mrs. Hardin was returning from a visit with her daughter in Monroe when the crash occurred. She was a longtime educator and school administrator in Onslow County.

Eric Thomas Mangum (Courtesy Raleigh-Wake CCBI)

Members of the audience and court staff said the courtroom came to a standstill when Rev. Tony Hardin of Jacksonville, the victim’s widower, spoke during victim’s impact statements. He later shared his comments on social media.

“On February 26, 2017, as I rose from my bed, I never imagined where that date would take me and my family and then eventually lead to the place where we have come today,”he said. “I want this court to know that I do not hold hatred in my heart for (the defendant). I do not wish for him to ever experience any of the things that my family and I have experienced because of this misfortunate event.

“However, I do wish for him to come to know Jesus for that is the only event that can turn his life around. My desire is that this event will be a monumental event in his life and that, by coming to know Christ, he will not only meet Jesus as Savior, but also my beautiful wife of 35 ½ years, whose life he took from this world. The good news for her is that she was prepared, and in taking her life he fortunately took one ready to meet Christ and it could have been far worse had he taken another that was not prepared.

“I offer my forgiveness to Eric Mangum publicly before this court. But I plead with him to take every step to ensure that he turns his life around. My prayer for him is that, because of this occurrence, his life will never be the same either. The lives that my family and I will lead will go on, albeit, never normal and will always have a missing part that resides only in our hearts until we meet again in eternity. I hope one he will join us there as well.”

Superior Court Judge James Webb of Moore County presided over the case. Allan Adams and Jacob Ward represented the state, and William Gore Jr. was defense counsel.



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