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 Friday, August 25
Prosecution could seek death penalty
 Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Fred Lane's estranged wife killed him with two shotgun blasts to collect on a $5 million insurance policy taken out on him earlier this year, a prosecutor said Friday.

Deidra Lane "laid in wait to kill him" upon his return home July 6 from Nashville, Tenn., where he had been staying with relatives, assistant district attorney Gentry Caudill said at a bond hearing.

The 24-year-old Indianapolis Colts running back was shot in the chest and head as he walked in the front door.

Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Richard Boner ruled the 25-year-old Lane could be released on $100,000 secured bond. She left the jail less than three hours later without speaking to reporters.

Caudill said prosecutors had not decided on whether to pursue the death penalty, but told the judge Lane's premeditation could qualify as a capital offense.

"Fred Lane had no value to Deidra Lane while he was alive," Caudill said. "The state contends this was first-degree murder. She laid in wait to kill him."

Defense attorney Henderson Hill told the judge his client posed no risk of flight or danger to anyone in the community.

"There is just tragedy all over this case, there's no question about that," Hill said.

She is nursing the couple's 8-week-old daughter. Her 4-year-old son from a previous relationship is suffering from the loss of a father figure and his mother's arrest, Hill said.

"I think the emotional health of this young 25-year-old and her two young children are very important factors that should weigh heavily on your decision on whether she should be released," Hill said.

Lane hung her head and sobbed heavily as Hill spoke.

Boner ordered Lane not to leave Mecklenburg County and warned that the $100,000 in cash or assets posted as bond would be forfeited if she failed to appear at future hearings.

Caudill had opposed the bond, saying the couple had separated two weeks before the slaying after Lane pointed a pistol at her husband. He moved in with relatives in Tennessee after training with Indianapolis, where he had been traded from the Carolina Panthers in April.

"They separated because Deidra Lane was going through all his money," Caudill said. "He was making $600,000 a year, but when he went back to Nashville he was almost penniless because Deidra Lane controlled all of their money."

A life insurance policy for the football player had been taken out between 30 and 45 days before the shooting, Caudill said.

Lane bought a ticket for her husband to fly to Charlotte and arranged for her brother to pick him up at the airport, Caudill said. Deidra Lane's 4-year-old son and her mother, who had been living in the couple's house, were not at home at the time of the shooting.

"When police arrived at the residence, Fred Lane's keys were in the door. His bags were still in the foyer and a 12-gauge shotgun was on the floor," Caudill said.

The first shotgun blast hit Lane in the chest, the prosecutor said.

"That shot in effect blew out Fred Lane's heart," Caudill said. Deidra Lane then walked up to her husband and shot him in the head, he said.

Lane's death came eight months after former Carolina teammate Rae Carruth and three other men were charged with killing Carruth's pregnant girlfriend. Carruth, 26, is being held without bond awaiting trial for first-degree murder.

Lane, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound running back, played for three seasons with Carolina and became the Panthers' leading career rusher in November.

The Panthers re-signed Lane before the 1999 season to a two-year, $1.276 million contract with a $300,000 signing bonus.