Carruth does not take the stand in own defense
Updated: Wednesday January 03, 2001 5:03 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Rae Carruth's lawyers rested their case Wednesday without calling the former football player to the stand to deny he arranged the killing of his pregnant girlfriend.
Defense attorney David Rudolf rested his case after calling a series of witnesses to testify on Carruth's behalf.
Judge Charles Lamm recessed court until Thursday to allow prosecutors time to prepare their rebuttal witnesses.
Rudolf said outside the courtroom that his client's testimony was not needed since the defense contends Carruth was not present when Cherica Adams was shot.
"Rae wasn't there," he said. "So he can't say what happened between the two cars."
Rudolf was asked if the jury would believe Carruth or the words of Adams, who said in a 911 call and in notes scribbled before she lapsed into a coma that Carruth was at the scene of the shooting.
"Bottom line, there's nothing Rae could say about that, either," Rudolf told CNN/Sports Illustrated. "She said what she said."
The last defense witness called Wednesday was private investigator Ron Guerette, who told the jury that Carruth had stored baby furniture, including a playpen and crib, at a storage facility in anticipation of his child's birth.
Prosecutors contend that Carruth, then a member of the Carolina Panthers, had Adams killed because he didn't want to pay child support. Her baby boy survived the November 1999 shooting and now lives with Adams' mother.
Carruth, 26, could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder.
Carruth's trial resumed Tuesday after a weeklong holiday break. Before Christmas, jurors heard the admitted gunman testify that Carruth paid him to shoot Adams, who was eight months pregnant.
The defense claims Carruth had nothing to do with the shooting and that codefendant Van Brett Watkins shot Adams in a rage after a failed drug deal.
Watkins was one of two co-defendants who testified Carruth hatched the plan to kill Adams and blocked her car with his vehicle so Watkins could shoot her. The prosecution also used Adams' 911 call and notes of her suspicions about Carruth's involvement in the shooting.
Testimony resumed Wednesday morning with Leonard Kornberg, one of Carruth's original attorneys, on the stand.
Carruth "was despondent, panicked and extremely upset" when the two spoke on the phone the night Adams died, Kornberg testified.
"He stated that when Cherica Adams passed away, his defense passed away because Cherica knew he wouldn't have done this," he said.
Much of the morning was spent on arguments about whether Carruth's original attorneys could testify about Carruth's statements to them about the shooting being the result of a drug deal gone bad.
Lamm sustained prosecution objections to that testimony and to similar testimony from the second witness of the morning, a bail bondsman.