NFL Star Leaves Prison 19 Years After Girlfriend's Death

Rae Carruth served 18 years in connection with Cherica Adams' murder
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2018 11:46 AM CDT

(Newser) – "Rae was picked up by family this morning, and that's about all we're going to say right now." That was the statement made by a friend on behalf of Rae Carruth, the former Carolina Panther imprisoned 18 years ago in connection with the 1999 murder of pregnant girlfriend Cherica Adams. Carruth was released from North Carolina's Sampson Correctional Institution just after 8am Monday. His exit didn't provide much in the way of new information: USA Today reports the 44-year-old chose not to speak to the media gathered outside the minimum-security facility as he climbed into a Chevy Tahoe driven by an unnamed person. The tires "screeched" as he left the premises.

  • The Charlotte Observer points out that one key person wasn't there: Chancellor Lee. Lee is the son born to Adams on the night she was shot in Charlotte. He was born with cerebral palsy due to the shooting and is being raised by his maternal grandmother, Saundra Adams, who in 2016 told the paper she and Lee intended to be waiting at the gates when Carruth—who has only twice met his son, years ago—was released. But on Sunday, Adams told the paper they would not be there, though she says it's possible Carruth may still be able to see his son at some point.

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  • Carruth was acquitted of first-degree murder but convicted of three counts, conspiracy to commit murder among them, and was sentenced to 18 to 24 years, per the AP. Prosecutors maintained he wanted Adams killed so he wouldn't have to pay child support; Carruth's lawyer says she was killed as an act of payback against Carruth over a failed drug deal. There's no word on where Carruth plans to live. His post-release program stipulates that he cannot leave the state without permission for nine months.
  • Carruth had this to say to WSOC days ago in a call from prison: "I'm excited about just being out of here. I'm nervous just about how I'll be received by the public. I still have to work. I still have to live. I have to exist out there and it just seems like there is so much hate and negativity toward me."
  • Gordon Widenhouse, an attorney who worked with Carruth, sounded a more optimistic note to USA Today: "I think Rae will acclimate pretty easily. He's a very engaging individual. He's intelligent. I think he will find a way to integrate himself back into society.
  • As for work, the AP reports Carruth earned $1 an hour working as a prison barber, a "far cry" from the four-year, $3.7 million contract he signed in 1997. He didn't end up seeing all of that money, and the Observer notes the money he did make is "long gone."
  • NPR's segment on the story opens with a clip from Adams' 911 call. You can hear it here.
  • Read more on Carruth here.
(Read more Rae Carruth stories.)

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