|CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rae Carruth was ordered Monday to spend a
minimum of almost 19 years in prison for his role in the ambush
killing of his pregnant girlfriend.
Judge Charles Lamm sentenced the former NFL player after hearing
emotional testimony from the parents of Cherica Adams, who was
eight months pregnant when shot four times in her car in November
1999 on a Charlotte street. She died a month later.
The 27-year-old player stared at the judge, showing no emotion,
as Lamm announced the sentence. Carruth nodded to onlookers as he
left the courtroom.
Adams' parents and other relatives embraced one another as the
Carruth was sentenced to at least 18 years, 11 months, with a
maximum of 24 years, four months. Defense attorney David Rudolf
immediately filed notice of appeal.
Carruth arrived at Central Prison in Raleigh at 6:40 p.m. EST
and was issued a prison uniform.
Prosecutors said the former Carolina Panthers receiver set up
the attack on Adams to avoid paying child support, using his white
Ford Expedition to block Adams' car so a hired gunman could shoot
the 24-year-old woman.
Carruth was acquitted last week of first-degree murder -- and was
spared the possibility of the death penalty -- but was found guilty
of conspiracy to commit murder and two other offenses.
Cherica Adams' mother, Saundra, said she forgives Carruth, but
"in no way do I think he should get off easy for what he has
"He's already gotten the greatest of mercy -- his life is
spared," she said. "Let him take the punishment not of a little
boy, but of a man one time. Let him know he needs some help."
She also testified that her year-old grandson, Chancellor, born
prematurely by emergency Caesarean section after the shooting, has
cerebral palsy. Cherica Adams lost a substantial amount of blood in
"He can't hold onto his bottle. ... He has trouble even holding
onto the rattle," the victim's mother said. "He's not anywhere
near taking his first step. The doctors are telling me he might not
take a first step until he is 3 years old or older."
Prosecutor Gentry Caudill argued that Carruth took advantage of
Adams' "misplaced" trust in him. He also noted that Carruth has
shown "not one ounce of remorse" for Adams' death.
"He offered no assistance as Cherica lay dying from those
wounds," Caudill said.
The judge rejected a request by the defense to throw out
Carruth's conviction as inconsistent with his acquittal on the
The verdict implied that some jurors compromised, the defense
argued. But prosecutor David Graham said previous court rulings
have allowed such verdicts.
Carruth's mother, Theodry Carruth, said outside court that her
son is innocent. "My son did not try to destroy his own unborn
baby," she said.
Adams' father, Jeffrey Moonie, said he was pleased with the
outcome, but still had questions for Carruth.
"I would like to hear why. I would like to know why," he said.
"I'm still surprised he has not shown any reaction so far."
Carruth will be brought to Central Prison in Raleigh for
processing and evaluation and could be sent to another prison, said
Tracy Little, spokeswoman for the state Department of Correction.
"Given the length of his sentence, it is likely he will remain
at Central Prison for a few months," she said.
Jury foreman Clark Pennell said he was not surprised with the
"I thought it would be pretty close to that," said Pennell,
who came to the courthouse to be interviewed on Court TV. "He
(Lamm) heard all the evidence and he knows how the jury felt."
After arriving at prison, Carruth was searched and his clothing
and the items in his pockets were stored, said Tracy Little,
spokeswoman for the state Department of Correction.
Prison officials were deciding whether Carruth would spend the
night in a dormitory where incoming prisoners are temporarily
housed or be assigned to a single-inmate cell.
For several days or up to three weeks, Carruth will be
questioned and his records will be checked and examined by doctors.
It will then be determined whether Carruth will stay at the state's
only maximum security prison or be moved to a medium-security
|Theodry Carruth hurried away from the Mecklenburg County courthouse Monday. She maintains her son, Rae, is innocent.|
Carruth murder case drew huge TV interest
Foreman praises Carruth jury for making 'right decision'
Jury: Carruth guilty of conspiracy, but not murder
Judge Charles Lamm sentences Rae Carruth to at least 18 years in prison.
Saundra Adams, Cherica's mother, asks the judge for the maxium punishment.
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Rae Carruth's Sentencing.
ESPN's Lisa Salters and David Kessler analyze the implications of the jury's decision.
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