Carruth trial: Day 31
Jurors resume second day's deliberations
Updated: Wednesday January 17, 2001 4:40 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Jurors returned to court Wednesday to resume deliberations in Rae Carruth's murder trial after working more than three hours the previous day without reaching a verdict.
The panel of seven men and five women asked to see five exhibits, including photographs and a large map that included the site of the shooting.
Defense attorney David Rudolf objected to jurors taking the exhibits into the jury room. Judge Charles Lamm agreed and allowed jurors to view the exhibits in the courtroom.
The foreman asked that the map be placed on an easel, and jurors gathered in groups as they viewed the exhibits. The foreman pointed to various places on the map.
On Tuesday, before deliberations began, the panel heard a final closing statement by prosecutor Gentry Caudill.
He said Carruth planned and helped carry out the Nov. 16, 1999, shooting of his girlfriend, Cherica Adams, who was eight months' pregnant, to avoid paying child support. Adams died a month after the shooting. Her son, Chancellor, survived and lives with Adams' mother.
To Carruth's three co-defendants, "Cherica Adams was just a face, just a mark, just a hit, just a way to get money or get closer to a big NFL star," Caudill said. "She was nothing to them."
"But to that man, Rae Carruth, she was carrying his flesh and blood," Caudill said. "And he intended for that child never to come into this world.
"Therein lies the evil. I ask you to hold him responsible for what he did, to hold him responsible for what Cherica saw him do."
Caudill described Carruth as a charmer who hid his dark side from almost everyone, including Adams.
"Rae Carruth can turn on the charm. ... People are drawn to him," Caudill told jurors. "There's another side to him that I hope you have seen with the evidence in this case. Cherica saw it too late."
Carruth, a former wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, is charged with first-degree murder. He is accused of masterminding the ambush attack on Adams. The 26-year-old player could get the death penalty if convicted of killing Adams, 24.
The prosecutor spent much of his rebuttal closing argument Tuesday defending Amber Turner, a former Carruth girlfriend who testified that he threatened to kill her when she became pregnant in 1998. Turner said Carruth insisted she have an abortion.
Her mother, Barbara, testified as a defense witness, saying she knew her daughter had a miscarriage but she was unaware of an abortion.
"She has been nothing but the best friend this man ever had," Caudill said, referring to Turner's support of Carruth before she testified. "And the abuse heaped on her in this court is disgusting."
In his closing Monday, Rudolf said investigators had "tunnel vision" by targeting Carruth after Adams was shot.
Police wrongly settled on the theory that Carruth arranged a contract hit on Adams to get out of paying child support, Rudolf said.
"They weren't looking for information," he said. "They were looking for confirmation."
Prosecutors on Monday replayed a tape of the 911 call in which the mortally wounded Adams says Carruth's car slowed in front of hers before she was shot from another car that pulled alongside. In notes she wrote from her hospital bed, Adams said Carruth stopped his car, blocking her vehicle, rather than slowing.
Caudill argued Tuesday that evidence about the gunshots showed that both cars were stopped when Adams was shot. He said Adams, alone in her car, would have been unlikely to stop on a dark, winding road when strange men in another car motioned to her to do so.