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The Boy They Couldn't Kill
THOMAS LAKE
September 17, 2012
Thirteen years ago, NFL receiver Rae Carruth conspired to kill his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn son. The child has not only survived but thrived—thanks to the unwavering love of his grandmother
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September 17, 2012

The Boy They Couldn't Kill

Thirteen years ago, NFL receiver Rae Carruth conspired to kill his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn son. The child has not only survived but thrived—thanks to the unwavering love of his grandmother

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CARRUTH: Sir, I'm not going to answer any questions.

ELLERBE: A deposition is where I ask you questions and you answer the questions. Are you represented by counsel?

CARRUTH: I believe I can go; I've already told him what I was going to do.

ELLERBE: Are you represented by counsel?

CARRUTH: I can't answer that question either.

It went on like that for five minutes. Saundra looked at Carruth expectantly the entire time. He would not look at her.

Was it over then? Could she forget about him and move on, unhindered, to the task of mothering his son?

No.

By then she had been awarded permanent custody of Chancellor Lee, but the legal battle continued. Carruth's mother, Theodry, kept complicating matters. Her lawyer took gestures of kindness Saundra had made to Carruth—writing to him in prison, sending him pictures of his son—and threw them back at her in court, arguing that "she's having a relationship with Mr. Carruth" and thus giving the judge more reason to award Theodry more access to Chancellor. After the judge said "there is no set of imaginable facts whereby Ms. Carruth can prove that Chancellor has been adversely affected by having [only] limited contact with Ms. Carruth," and thus dismissed her motion to intervene in 2004, Theodry appealed all the way to the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The battle continued until Aug. 25, 2006, when Chancellor Lee was almost seven, and a judge denied Theodry's last appeal.

In 2004 a judge found Rae Carruth liable for the wrongful death of Cherica Adams. He was ordered to pay Saundra $5.8 million in damages. But Carruth had little or no money left by then, so it was one more debt that Saundra had to forgive.

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