'Rae hasn't given up'
Former Carolina WR awaits sentencing in murder case
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Rae Carruth awaits sentencing Monday, with the possibility of spending his next 25 years in prison for conspiring to murder his pregnant girlfriend.
The former NFL player, who turned 27 on Saturday, escaped a first-degree murder conviction that could have led to a death sentence.
He was convicted Friday of conspiracy to commit murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle, and using an instrument, in this case a gun, with the intent to destroy an unborn child.
Defense lawyer David Rudolf plans to ask Judge Charles Lamm to vacate the conspiracy and other convictions because they are inconsistent with the murder acquittal.
"I haven't given up and Rae hasn't given up," Rudolf said after the verdict was announced.
Carruth stood stone-faced when the verdict was read. On the other side of the courtroom, a smile appeared on the tearstained face of Saundra Adams, whose pregnant daughter, Cherica Adams, was shot four times Nov. 16, 1999, and died a month later.
Adams raised her arms after the jury delivered its decision, then hugged other sobbing family members.
The verdict came after about 20 hours of deliberations over four days by the jury of seven men and five women.
Lead prosecutor Gentry Caudill declined to discuss the verdicts.
Cherica Adams, 24, was mortally wounded in an attack that prosecutors said Carruth set up to avoid paying child support. Prosecutors said the former Carolina Panthers receiver used his car to block Adams' car so a hired gunman could shoot the woman, who was eight months' pregnant.
The jury took the case Tuesday afternoon and told the judge on Thursday that they were deadlocked. Sent back for more discussions, they came up with a verdict the next day.
Foreman Clark Pennell said Saturday he didn't think there was any compromising among jurors to avoid the deadlock.
"I don't think there is anyone on the jury who could not look you right in the eye and say they felt we made the [right] decision," he said.
Defense attorney Jim Gronquist, who represents one of Carruth's co-defendants, Stanley "Boss" Abraham, said some members of the jury might have wanted to consider a second-degree murder or manslaughter conviction, but those options were not available.
"Perhaps they were sending a message that they should have been given the options," he said.