Searching for the truth
Victim's notes put Carruth at scene of crime
Updated: Tuesday November 21, 2000 1:51 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Notes and statements made by Rae Carruth's pregnant girlfriend after she was shot all put the former Carolina Panthers wide receiver at the scene of the crime.
Carruth went on trial Monday on murder charges, accused of masterminding the drive-by shooting death of Cherica Adams in November 1999.
Before court recessed Monday, a nurse who treated Adams the morning after the shooting read in court notes wrote implicating Carruth in the shooting.
Tracy Willard said Adams, unable to talk because of the breathing tube in her mouth, motioned for a pen. Willard said she gave her one and held out paper, which Adams wrote on.
"He was driving in front of me and stopped in the road and a car pulled up beside me and he blocked the front and never came back," Willard read.
Mecklenburg County assistant prosecutor David Graham asked Willard if she asked Adams who "he" was.
"Yes," Willard said. "She wrote 'Rae.'"
The note was consistent with statements Adams made in a 911 call from her cell phone immediately after the shooting.
The final 8 minutes of the 12-minute recording were filled with sounds of Adams moaning in pain, complaining she was cold. Carruth covered his face with his hands several times as the recording played.
Testimony resumes Tuesday with Willard going over the rest of the notes Adams wrote.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Carruth, 26. He is accused of hiring someone to shoot the 24-year-old Adams, who was eight months pregnant with his child. The baby, a boy, was delivered by emergency Caesarean section and survived. Adams died a month later.
Prosecutor Gentry Caudill told the jury in Monday's opening arguments that Carruth wanted Adams killed because she wouldn't have an abortion.
"He wanted her to have an abortion, but she was adamant in her refusal. She wanted to have that baby," Caudill said.
Defense attorney David Rudolf blamed the shooting on a friend of Carruth's who was angry because Carruth would not provide money to buy marijuana. Rudolf said Carruth had nothing to do with the shooting.
Rudolf said Van Brett Watkins, who has confessed to the shooting and agreed to testify against Carruth, was angry because Carruth reneged on a promise to finance a drug deal.
Testimony in earlier hearings indicated Watkins, 40, told a jailer he shot Adams because he was mad at Carruth and because Adams made an obscene gesture at him from her car.
Rudolf said the shooting "had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that she was pregnant."
Two other men are also charged with murder: Michael Eugene Kennedy, 25, accused of driving the car from which the shots were fired, and Stanley Drew "Boss" Abraham, a passenger in the car. They will be tried separately.
Jurors also heard Monday from Nicole Michaels, a paramedic who was the first to reach Adams. Michaels recalled that a police officer asked the victim if she knew who shot her.
Adams answered, "Rae, my baby's daddy," Michaels said.
Under cross examination, Rudolf presented Michaels with the police officers report that had no mention of him asking Adams "Who did this?" Instead, the officer said he asked Adams who was driving the car in front of her.
"Was it possible that the answers 'My baby's daddy' and 'Rae' were answers to a different question?" Rudolf asked Michaels.
"It's possible," she said.