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FIRST-DEGREE TRAGEDY
Michael Bamberger
December 27, 1999
Rae Carruth was a gifted but unassuming wide receiver for the Panther. Now he stands accused of ordering the murder of his pregnant girlfriend—a horrific crime that, like Carruth himself, remains shrouded in mystery
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December 27, 1999

First-degree Tragedy

Rae Carruth was a gifted but unassuming wide receiver for the Panther. Now he stands accused of ordering the murder of his pregnant girlfriend—a horrific crime that, like Carruth himself, remains shrouded in mystery

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Carruth, Watkins, Kennedy and Abraham were all arrested for conspiracy to commit murder, among other charges. Carruth, who was put on unpaid leave by the Panthers, posted $3 million bond and was released. When Adams died, the conspiracy charge was changed to first-degree murder for all four men. An arrest warrant was issued for Carruth, who didn't turn himself in. Carolina immediately cut him.

Within 24 hours FBI agents—acting on a tip that originated with Theodry—tracked their man to a gray Toyota parked outside the Best Western motel in the small town of Wildersville, Tenn., 426 miles west of Charlotte. Theodry told Carruth's bail bondsman what kind of car her son was in, who owned it—Wendy Cole, a Charlotte hairdresser who was a friend of both Rae's and Theodry's—and where it was located. Theodry's act was motivated by love; she knew that fugitives often end up dead.

So four men face murder charges and possibly the death penalty. A baby boy has no mother. The mother, a beautiful young woman who liked life's sparkly side, was buried last Saturday. The minister at the funeral service, Robyn Gool, didn't bid goodbye to Cherica Adams gently. "Some people think life is partying," he said in his sermon. "They think that life is clubbing. Some people think life is sex. Some people think life is popularity. Some think life is material possession. None of these things is life. Life is a relationship with God."

The casket was closed. The baby was still in the hospital. The alleged mastermind, so-called, behind the murder was in jail. The Panthers still have two games left in their season. For Rae Carruth, a.k.a. Rae Lamar Wiggins, his season is over. All the rest of his seasons may be over, too.

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