Carruth trial: Day 12
Prosecutors turn murder case over to defense
Updated: Tuesday December 12, 2000 1:14 AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Attorneys for Rae Carruth said Monday that the former NFL wide receiver might testify at his trial on charges of masterminding the murder of his pregnant girlfriend.
"That's a decision we would make literally an hour before [it would happen]," attorney David Rudolf said.
Carruth is being tried on a capital murder charge, accused of setting up the slaying of Cherica Adams.
Speaking outside the courthouse, Rudolf declined to say if he planned to call co-defendant Van Brett Watkins, the admitted triggerman. Watkins pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in July and agreed to testify against Carruth.
"We'll have to see if it's necessary," Rudolf said.
Prosecutors did not call Watkins as a witness before resting their case earlier Monday after 12 days of testimony and more than two dozen witnesses.
Inside the courtroom, Rudolf opened the defense case by attacking the credibility of another co-defendant, Michael Eugene Kennedy, a key prosecution witness. Kennedy said Carruth masterminded the attack on Adams last year.
The prosecution theory of the case is that Carruth, who played at the University of Colorado, had Adams killed because he didn't want to make child support payments. Defense attorneys contend that Adams was killed in a drug deal that went bad.
Former prosecutor Thomas C. Porter testified that Kennedy wasn't telling the truth when he told the jury about a 1994 assault charge. Kennedy said the charge against him was dropped because a videotape proved he wasn't involved in the shooting of another man.
Porter, now a defense lawyer, testified that Kennedy wasn't prosecuted because a witness couldn't be located. He said he didn't know of a videotape.
The next witness was homicide investigator M.S. Conner, who was one of the first investigators to work on the Adams case. Conner also investigated the 1994 assault case against Kennedy that never went to trial.
Rudolf asked Conner why he didn't mention the 1994 case and its drug overtones to prosecutors in October, when he filed motions asking the state to turn over all the information it had on any drug activities by Kennedy and Watkins. Conner said he did not recall the 1994 case at that time.
Adams was eight months pregnant with Carruth's son when she was shot on Nov. 16, 1999. The baby survived, but Adams died a month later.
Kennedy, testifying without a deal with prosecutors, said Carruth recruited him to be the driver in the attack and paid him $100 to buy the gun in the shooting.