Carruth trial: Day 26
Defense's rebuttal witnesses could conclude on Tuesday
Updated: Monday January 08, 2001 5:41 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Rae Carruth's lawyers called another one of his former girlfriends to the stand Monday to counter the prosecution's argument that Carruth wanted to kill his pregnant girlfriend to get out of paying child support.
Dawnyle Willard said she spoke with Carruth about becoming a father for the second time several months before his girlfriend, Cherica Adams, was due to give birth.
"Rae was very excited about the baby," said Willard, who dated Carruth when he attended the University of Colorado in 1995.
The 26-year-old Carruth is accused of plotting the fatal shooting of Adams, who was eight months pregnant with their son. She was shot in November 1999 and died a month later. The baby survived and lives with Adams' mother.
The trial is starting to wind down, with defense lawyer David Rudolf telling Judge Charles Lamm that he expects to be finished with his rebuttal witnesses on Tuesday. Closing statements come next, followed by the judge's instructions to the jury.
Then the panel can begin its deliberations, but a date hasn't been set.
Court recessed early Monday after Rudolf told the judge his final witnesses would not be available until Tuesday morning.
After lunch Monday, Lamm denied Rudolf's request to bring a newspaper reporter to the stand to testify about comments made by another one of Carruth's former girlfriends, Amber Turner.
Last week, prosecutors called Turner to tell jurors that Carruth threatened to have her killed if she did not consent to have an abortion after she became pregnant in 1998.
"He said, 'I ain't going to have no more kids with someone I ain't going to be with. ... Don't make me send somebody out there to kill you. You know I'll do it,'" Turner testified Friday on the final day of the state's rebuttal case.
The 21-year-old Turner said Carruth also joked about killing his oldest son and the child's mother, and fretted about his ability to pay support for the child of Cherica Adams.
Willard testified Monday that she ate dinner at Carruth's house two days before Adams died. She said although they were no longer romantically involved, they remained close friends and she came to Charlotte after he was arrested.
"He gave the blessing and prayed for her to be OK," Willard said.
The next day, she was in a car with Carruth when the news broke that Adams had passed away.
"The car got really quiet," Willard said. "Both of us started to cry. He said when Cherica died his hope died. Then he said he needed time to think."
Another defense witness, Starlita Walker, testified that Turner was jealous of Carruth's affections for other women. Walker, who said she was not romantically involved with Carruth, told jurors she advised Carruth to stay away from Turner.
"Feed her with a long-handled spoon," she recalled telling him. "Don't get too close or she'll never leave."
Turner testified last week that Carruth gave her a car and helped with expenses. Now, Carruth's bank account has dwindled to the point that his defense is funded by state taxpayers.
The state has paid Carruth's lawyers more than $104,500 since a judge declared Carruth unable to pay his legal bill, The Charlotte Observer reported Sunday.
Taxpayers also have paid $10,000 to Carruth's jury consultant and $7,100 for investigative work on the case. The final cost of Carruth's defense is expected to be much higher.