Carruth apprehended in Tennessee
Panthers' player faces murder charge after girlfriend dies
Posted: Wednesday December 15, 1999 10:01 PM
Rae Carruth's former girlfriend, Cherica Adams, died Tuesday due to injuries from a Nov. 16 drive-by shooting. Otto Greule Jr./Allsport
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth, sought by authorities a day after he failed to turn himself to police after the death of his pregnant girlfriend, was located Wednesday in Tennessee.
Police said Carruth was arrested at 5:45 p.m. ET in Wildersville, Tenn., about 100 miles northeast of Memphis. FBI agent Joanne Morley said Carruth was found by police inside the trunk of a vehicle.
Carruth had ignored pleas from his mother and his lawyer to surrender as police launched a nationwide manhunt for the Carolina Panthers player charged with murdering his girlfriend.
Carruth's name was entered Wednesday into the National Crime Information Center computer, which is linked to state and local police across the United States.
Asked whether investigators think Carruth had fled, he said, "That's why we sent word out around the country, but we have no indication he has left the city. ... We need to look behind all the bushes."
Police found Carruth's red Mercedes late Tuesday night in the parking lot of an apartment complex where a friend lived.
Carruth, a former Colorado standout, was charged with first-degree murder following the death Tuesday of Adams, who was 6 1/2 months' pregnant when she was shot four times Nov. 16 in her car. The shooting forced doctors to perform an emergency delivery.
If convicted, Carruth could be sentenced to death or life in prison.
Carruth and three other men were originally charged with conspiracy, attempted murder and related charges. Carruth was free on $3 million bail on the earlier charges when Adams died.
Michael Eugene Kennedy, 24, Stanley Drew "Boss" Abraham, 19, and William Edward Watkins, 44, were charged with first-degree murder Wednesday in jail and were being held without bail. They were to make initial court appearances Thursday on the murder charge.
Police searched for Carruth throughout the Charlotte area, while his mother, Theodry Carruth, said she believed he would surrender. She said she spoke with him Tuesday.
"Rae told me he didn't kill her, and that he doesn't want to sit in jail," said Theodry Carruth, who planned to travel to Charlotte from her home in Sacramento, Calif. "He's in Charlotte somewhere, but he won't run. I begged with the police captain there not to shoot him, to let him turn himself in when he's ready."
She said she pleaded with her son to "do the right thing."
"People can't condemn him right now," she said at a news conference in Sacramento. "He's confused, he's never been in any trouble, and I think he deserves a little time to clear his head. He won't hurt himself. I'm sure of it, but we are worried about him."
Bridges said police are unwilling to accept the mother's promise that he would give up voluntarily.
"Starting yesterday afternoon, she has said he was going to turn himself in," he said. "That has proven not to be accurate."
Carruth's lawyer, George Laughrun, said Wednesday he did not know where Carruth was and hadn't heard from him since Tuesday night.
"I told him he needs to turn himself in," Laughrun said of their conversation.
Panthers officials cleaned out Carruth's locker Wednesday at Ericsson Stadium to make room for new players. Carruth has been placed on unpaid leave.
"The entire situation is extremely tragic and very troubling," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.
Adams was shot in the neck and chest from a passing vehicle as she drove through a Charlotte neighborhood.
Carruth was in a car near the shooting, and the three other men were in a separate vehicle, talking by cell phone, prosecutors said.
The condition of the baby, Chancellor Lee Adams, has improved since the shooting. He was moved out of a neonatal intensive care nursery earlier this month.
Carruth, 25, was the Panthers' first-round draft choice in 1997 out of Colorado. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he is the first active NFL player to face a murder charge.
In 1997, Brian Blades of the Seattle Seahawks was found guilty of manslaughter, but the verdict was overturned because a judge said there was not enough evidence to convict.
Retired NFL great O.J. Simpson was acquitted in 1995 on murder charges in the stabbing deaths of his ex-wife and her friend. In a civil trial, he was found liable for their deaths and ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages.
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