Work in Sports
Carruth's co-defendants have records
Posted: Sunday February 06, 2000 02:51 PM
CHARLOTTE (AP) -- Two of the three co-defendants accused with former Carolina Panthers in his girlfriend's murder have criminal histories, while the third has a spotless record, according to records.
Van Brett Watkins, 44, who is accused in records of firing the shots that killed Cherica Adams, spent much of his adult life in trouble with the law. Also convicted of crimes in the past is Michael Eugene Kennedy, 24, of Charlotte, The Charlotte Observer reported Sunday.
Kennedy's friend, Stanley Drew "Boss" Abraham Jr., 19, has never been in trouble with the law before now, according to records. Abraham has been studying his Bible from the Mecklenburg County jail and has written a poem about his faith in God since his arrest.
"What he believes is that he is going to be cleared of all charges," said Kevin Long, pastor at Temple Baptist Church in Charlotte.
Carrruth and the other suspects are charged with murder and conspiracy in the drive-by shooting of Adams on Nov. 16. Adams was driving in her car in Charlotte when another car pulled up beside her. Shots fired from the rear window struck her four times. Carruth's attorneys have said he will plead innocent to the charges against him.
Adams died four weeks later. Adams, who was pregnant at the time of the shooting, delivered a baby who survived. All four men face the death penalty if convicted. Carruth has been called the attack's instigator by prosecutors.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have said Watkins has been arrested repeatedly in New York, Georgia and North Carolina, but they haven't released his complete record.
According to officials with the New York prison system, Watkins served two prison terms in the 1980s related to attempted assault, weapon possession and automobile larceny convictions. He was paroled in 1990.
Watkins also has been accused twice of domestic violence. He was charged with terrorizing a woman believed to be his wife in 1997 in Queens, N.Y.
Police officers say Brenda Watkins was forced into a car, beaten, and driven down the wrong side of the road. After returning to her apartment, she told officers she was threatened with two knives, including a meat cleaver, according to court documents. Charges are pending in the case.
Bridgett Stinson, who had been staying with Watkins in Charlotte before his arrest, had applied for two restraining orders against him. The restraining orders were dismissed because Stinson did not show up in court.
Stinson and others say Watkins did work detailing cars. That's apparently how he met Kennedy, who also did car-detailing work, said James Exum, Kennedy's attorney. Among the cars Watkins detailed was Carruth's, Stinson said.
Efforts to reach members of Watkins' family were unsuccessful, and his attorneys have declined to comment.
Kennedy has a record of arrests but few convictions.
In April 1994, Kennedy was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, accused of shooting a 20-year-old Charlotte man. The assault charge was dismissed because the victim was in federal custody in Indiana and unavailable, according to documents. Exum said his client denies he was the shooter in that case.
In March 1997, Kennedy was convicted of carrying a concealed 9mm semiautomatic pistol in his car. Exum says he has also been convicted of a misdemeanor weapons charge in South Carolina.
Still, relatives and friends say Kennedy was never in any serious trouble growing up.
"We went to church as a family," said Kennedy's mother, Ella Robbins. "He had everything he wanted."
Kennedy earned a GED through Central Piedmont Community College. Kennedy worked several jobs, including stints as a security guard, a waiter and a jewelry salesman, his mother said.
At a hearing in December, Exum said his client was remorseful and would cooperate with authorities.
"He is not a person who came up with any plan; he is not a person who fired any shots," Exum said in court.
Kennedy was best friends with Abraham, who used to be his next-door neighbor.
"They're like brothers," said Kennedy's girlfriend, Tiyanda Sanders, 22. "They were always together."
Abraham's friends and family have described his involvement as a classic "wrong place, wrong time" situation. Abraham graduated from West Mecklenburg High School in January 1999 and had worked several short-term jobs while living at home with his parents.
"In 19 years, he hadn't really been a problem," said his father, Stanley Abraham Sr.