Co-defendant says Carruth plotted fatal attack
Updated: Tuesday November 21, 2000 11:47 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- One of Rae Carruth's co-defendants said the former football player asked him to help find a car and a gun so he could kill his pregnant girlfriend, then threatened his life when he hesitated.
Michael Eugene Kennedy, 25, charged with driving the car from which Cherica Adams was shot, testified Tuesday in Carruth's murder trial -- without a plea agreement and against his lawyers' wishes.
He said Carruth asked him where he could buy a gun because he had gotten a woman pregnant.
"He was saying that she was trying to juice him for the money," he said.
Carruth, at the time a member of the Carolina Panthers, said he was paying $5,000 a month to support one child from a previous relationship and did not want to spend another $5,000 a month on a second.
Kennedy said he told Carruth he did not want to help him find a gun or let him use his rented car for the shooting.
"I said I didn't want nothing to do with it," Kennedy said. "He said I already did because I knew about it and if I didn't help, I would be next. I smiled like he was joking, and he looked at me serious, like he wasn't. It was an iron-faced look. He wouldn't move or anything."
Judge Charles Lamm stopped Kennedy's testimony in the late afternoon and dismissed court for the day. Kennedy was to resume testifying Wednesday.
Kennedy's attorneys, James Exum and Thurston Frazier, said in court they had advised Kennedy against testifying without a plea bargain.
Carruth, 26, could be executed if convicted of arranging Adams' November 1999 shooting. Adams, 24, died about a month later, after giving birth to their son.
The defense claims another man, Van Brett Watkins, shot Adams in anger because Carruth reneged on a promise to pay for drugs and because she made an obscene gesture at him from her car.
Watkins, 40, has confessed to the shooting and agreed to testify against Carruth. Kennedy and a fourth man, Stanley Drew "Boss" Abraham, a passenger in Kennedy's car, are to be tried later on murder charges.
Defense attorney David Rudolf said outside court he had expected Kennedy to testify and was prepared for it.
"I can promise you all that Mr. Kennedy will be cross-examined until the cows come home," he said.
Rudolf speculated that Kennedy was testifying under the belief he could still get a deal from prosecutors.
"I don't think Michael Kennedy, after 13 months and various plea offers that he rejected as not good enough, has suddenly found God," he said. Kennedy's lawyers refused comment.
Earlier Tuesday, a man who called police to help the bleeding Adams insisted that she identified Carruth as the man who shot her.
Farrell Blalock was in his home when Adams was shot and drove onto his lawn. He called police and came outside when they arrived.
Blalock testified Adams told officers: "'I'm pregnant and I've been shot.' And the policeman said, 'Who did it?' And she said, 'My husband, I mean, my boyfriend.'
"And I heard her say he was driving a white Ford Expedition. And she said she had been to a movie."
Rudolf tried to get Blalock to say Adams could have meant Carruth was driving the Expedition, but he insisted she identified him as the gunman.
On Monday, a paramedic also testified she overheard Adams identify Carruth as the man who shot her. But under cross-examination by Rudolf, Nicole Michaels said it was possible Adams was identifying the driver of the Expedition.
Traci Willard, a nurse who treated Adams, testified Monday that the hospitalized woman, writing because a breathing tube prevented her from speaking, claimed Carruth blocked her car, allowing the gunman's vehicle to pull alongside.
Jurors were given copies of the hard-to-read notes as Willard testified she showed the note identifying Carruth to Adams' relatives, who then also began asking her questions about Carruth's involvement.
Adams was receiving morphine and other drugs at the time, Willard said under cross-examination.
Adams' father, Jeffrey Moonie, testified that Carruth arrived at the hospital with three friends, appeared agitated and sat down on the floor of a conference room. Moonie said he asked Carruth what happened, then asked the athlete to step into the hall to talk.
"He stood up, took off his jacket and threw it on the floor," Moonie said. "It really struck me. I thought, 'What's going on? He's acting he's going to do battle.'"
Once in the hallway, Moonie said, Adams' mother asked Carruth if he shot his daughter.
"He kind of leaned over and said, `I didn't come here for that. That's why I started not to come,'" Moonie testified.
Carruth never asked about the condition of Adams or their child while he was at the hospital, Moonie said.
Moonie's face tensed as he struggled to control his emotions. Other relatives of Adams cried during Moonie's testimony.