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Football fans: Rae Carruth was released from prison today

Rae Carruth Photo courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Corrections Rae Carruth

Rae Curruth, the former Carolina Panthers wide receiver who was convicted of conspiring to kill Cherica Adams, has been released from prison. He served an 18-year sentence after a friend of his – whom he hired – killed Adams, the mother of his unborn son. The child, Chancellor Lee Adams, survived but is severely impaired.


Carruth, a first-round draft pick in 1997, hired Van Brett Watkins Sr., a friend, to kill Adams. The shooting took place on Nov. 16, 1999, during Carruth’s third season with the Panthers. Carruth and Adams had been to eat dinner and see a movie. They were in separate cars. On the way home, Carruth, who was in front of Adams, stopped in the road. Adams stopped behind him. That’s when Watkins pulled up beside her and fired multiple shots into the vehicle. Adams was able to place a call to 911 and implicate Carruth in the shooting. She died a month later. Doctors delivered the child via emergency C-section. Chancellor Lee Adams suffered brain damage and has cerebral palsy as a result.


Carruth fled but was eventually apprehended. He was charged with conspiracy to commit murder and first degree murder. He became the first active NFL player to be charged with first degree murder (later, in separate incidents, Ray Lewis and Aaron Hernandez would also be charged with first degree murder; only Hernandez was convicted). A North Carolina jury convicted Carruth of conspiracy to commit murder but acquitted him of first degree murder. Watkins was convicted of murder and remains in prison.


Carruth was sentenced to an 18-24 year prison term. That sentence expired today and before lunch, officials released him from prison. The case has received a great deal of media attention since Carruth’s conviction. Chancellor Adams lives with his grandmother, who has taken excellent care of him over the years.

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