Driver In Carruth Murder Case Released From Prison

CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None — The driver who was involved in the Rae Carruth murder case was released from prison on Wednesday.

Michael Kennedy, 35, has spent the last 10 years and nine months in a Raleigh prison for his role in the murder of Cherica Adams in 1999.

Kennedy was transferred to a Charlotte correctional facility on Tuesday before being released on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old Adams, who was eight months pregnant, died weeks after she was shot in November 1999 in Charlotte.

Carruth, a wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers from 1997 through 1999, was acquitted of first-degree murder but was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, discharging a firearm into occupied property and using an instrument with intent to destroy an unborn child. The baby survived and is being raised by Adams' mother.

Carruth, 37, also known as Rae Lamar Wiggins, was sentenced to 18 to 24 years in prison.

According to testimony, Adams and Carruth had gone to the movies in Charlotte, stopped by his house to get her vehicle and then Adams followed Carruth to her house. Along the twisting, two-lane Rea Road, Carruth slowed or stopped, forcing Adams to do likewise. A car pulled up beside Adams and an occupant shot into Adams' vehicle.

Van Brett Watkins fired the shots and Kennedy drove the car. Both pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for testimony that Carruth paid Watkins $6,000 to kill Adams and the baby.

In a 911 call, Adams reported that she was following her boyfriend and that he slowed down and someone pulled up beside her and shot her and her unborn baby. She said Carruth left the scene.

She later told a paramedic that "Rae" shot her, describing him as "my baby's daddy." At the hospital, Adams wrote notes saying that Carruth had insisted she follow him to her house, and that before they left he made a call and she overheard him say "We're leaving now."

Carruth fled after he was charged in the slaying. The FBI found him hiding in the trunk of a friend's car in Tennessee.

Related Story: May 25, 2011: Ex-Panther's Son Moving Forward After Mother's Murder