Carruth trial: Day 32
Observers get a glimpse of jury's work in murder case
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Jurors in the Rae Carruth murder trial have spent hours discussing whether they believe the former NFL player planned the fatal shooting of his pregnant girlfriend.
Not all of it was behind closed doors.
In an unusual move, the panel discussed several exhibits in open court Wednesday while reporters and other courtroom observers watched. Carruth's defense attorney had objected to jurors taking the exhibits into the jury room.
"That's the first time I've ever seen that in a courtroom," defense attorney David Rudolf said during a break in deliberations Wednesday. "It's a little window into jury deliberations you rarely see."
The jury returned Thursday to the Mecklenburg County Courthouse and resumed deliberations.
On Wednesday, the second day of jury deliberations, the seven-man, five-woman panel worked six hours before recessing for the day. The jury also deliberated about three hours Tuesday.
After discussing the case in secret for about 30 minutes Wednesday, jurors asked to see five exhibits, including photographs and a large map that included the site of the murder. Rudolf objected.
Judge Charles Lamm 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, talking among themselves as they viewed the exhibits.
The foreman used a pointer to point to various places on the map. One female juror got out of her chair and walked over to other jurors to discuss one of the exhibits.
Rudolf said he was not surprised that the jury did not request to see any more exhibits during the day.
"I think they took careful notes during the trial and I think they are relying on their notes," he said after the jurors went home.
Prosecutors say Carruth planned and helped carry out the Nov. 16, 1999, shooting of Cherica Adams, who was eight months pregnant, to avoid paying child support. The 26-year-old Carruth, a former wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, could get the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Adams, 24.
The defense said the shooting was carried out by Carruth's three co-defendants after Carruth refused to finance a drug deal.
Adams died a month after the shooting. Her son, Chancellor, survived and lives with Adams' mother.