Facing the music
Carruth waives extradition, waived by Panthers
Posted: Friday December 17, 1999 05:35 PM
If convicted, Rae Carruth could face the death penalty. AP
JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) -- Wearing leg irons and handcuffs, Rae Carruth told a judge Thursday he would return to North Carolina to face a murder charge in the shooting of his pregnant girlfriend.
Prosecutors said they intend to seek the death penalty against the Carolina Panthers wide receiver and the three other men charged in the killing of Cherica Adams.
Meantime, Carruth, a first-round draft choice in 1997, was waived by the team Thursday and suspended indefinitely by the NFL.
He was captured by the FBI on Wednesday evening, hiding in the trunk of a car in a motel parking lot in Wildersville, about 100 miles northeast of Memphis. An affidavit filed with the arrest warrant said agents learned of his whereabouts from the bonding company responsible for Carruth's $3 million bail.
Wearing a gray-and-black jacket and blue jeans, Carruth was brought into U.S. District Court for a brief hearing before Judge James Todd.
"I'm going to voluntarily go back," Carruth said softly.
Todd turned him over to U.S. marshals, but it was not immediately clear when Carruth would be returned to North Carolina.
Adams was 6 1/2 months pregnant when she was shot Nov. 16. Doctors performed an emergency delivery and her 4-week-old son is in fair condition.
When Adams died Tuesday, a first-degree murder warrant was issued against Carruth. After he failed to surrender, his name was entered into the National Crime Information Center computer, which is linked to police across the United States.
According to the affidavit by FBI Special Agent David Drew, a source with the bonding company told authorities a gray Toyota Camry was seen parked outside Carruth's Charlotte, N.C., home on Tuesday, and the same car was seen in the parking lot at a Wildersville motel on Wednesday.
FBI agents staked out the motel for about two hours, then located the woman to whom the car belonged. After questioning her and searching her room, authorities asked her to let them look in her car. She told them Carruth was in the trunk, and he surrendered peacefully.
The woman, who has not been identified, has not been charged, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Len Register in Jackson.
Three other men charged with the killing made initial court appearances Thursday in Charlotte. A judge revoked bail for Michael Eugene Kennedy, 24; Stanley Drew 'Boss' Abraham, 19; and William Edward Watkins, 44. All are charged with first-degree murder.
At the hearing, Watkins expressed regret for the death of Adams, who was shot four times in the neck and chest from a passing vehicle as she sat in her car in a Charlotte suburb.
Carruth was in a car near the shooting, and the three other men were in a separate vehicle, talking by cell phone, according to prosecutors, who have not said who they believe fired the shots or what the motive was.
Meantime, Cherica Adams' mother, Saundra, told The Associated Press that Carruth had broached the topic of abortion with her daughter early on in the pregnancy, but didn't pressure her. Later, she said, Carruth "got excited about the baby -- seemingly."
Carruth even attended prenatal care visits with her daughter for several months, she said. About two months ago -- around the time a sprained ankle took Carruth out of the Panthers' lineup -- he stopped accompanying her.
"He seemed to be more pressured after his injury ... more pressured about money and how much the baby was going to cost him," Saundra Adams said.
Adams said her daughter had done well selling real estate and was not worried about being able to support the child.
"She was not going to totally depend on him to support her. She was thinking of having him help," she said. "I mean that's a father's responsibility."
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