CHARLOTTE, N.C. - He was part of one of Charlotte’s most infamous cases of domestic violence. Now, with just months left on his sentence, former Carolina Panther Rae Carruth is reaching out from behind bars to tell his side of the story.
Carruth has spent the last 17 years in prison for orchestrating the murder of his pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams. Before Cherica died, she was able to give birth to their son, Chancellor Lee Adams.
Chancellor was born prematurely and with cerebral palsy.
While Carruth has been in prison, Chancellor has been raised by his grandmother, Saundra Adams, who has spent years teaching him about love and forgiveness. The two have been on a mission to spread that message to communities around the world.
Carruth has been mostly silent until this past weekend, when he sent a 15-page letter not to Saundra, but to a Charlotte TV station.
Channel 9 spoke to Saundra after she was able to read the letter.
Carruth begins the letter by calling Saundra a godsend for raising his son, Chancellor.
He also apologized, saying, “I take full responsibility for everything,” which Saundra said is a first.
“Whether he means it or not, he’s spoken to the universe and said out of this mouth that he was responsible for Cherica’s death and Chancellor’s cerebral palsy, and I have never heard that before,” Saundra said.
Channel 9's coverage on Saundra and Chancellor Lee Adams:
- AGAINST ALL ODDS: Chancellor Lee Adams turns 18 on Thursday
- EXCLUSIVE: Saundra, Chancellor Adams' new mission helps change lives
- Saundra Adams receives special honor for helping domestic violence victims
- Chancellor Adams grandmother, Saundra, receives 'American Hero' award
- Rae Carruth's son turns 16, shares message against violence with grandmother
- When Rae Carruth is set free, son he ordered dead may be at prison gates
- 15 years later: Rae Carruth's teenage son
But then, the letter goes on to criticize Saundra at length, saying that she has capitalized on the situation and even called it a “hustle.”
Carruth, who gets out of prison in October, wrote, “I’m already going to have an impossibly difficult transition due to no one else’s fault but my own,” and then went on to accuse Saundra of “unfairly making matters worse.”
“He is attacking me, saying I’m telling lies about him, that I’m trying to turn the public against him, and I’ve never done that,” Saundra said.
Adams has long said she would like Chancellor to know and even have a relationship with his father.
Carruth’s letter indicates that he wants that, too, by saying, “If such a thing were ever to come to fruition, I would be eternally grateful. I’d give anything to have the opportunity to do right by Chancellor, and to play a meaningful role in his life.”
That led Saundra to clarify that Chancellor is not going to live with Carruth.
“I am not trying to mislead anybody to thinking Rae is gonna come pick Chancellor up for the summers and take him to California and come over and get him every week and be daddy. That’s not what I mean about relationship. I do want Chancellor to meet him,” Saundra said.
Channel 9 asked Saundra what Chancellor will call Carruth when he gets out of prison. She said that Chancellor will call him Rae.
“Rae’s parental rights were extinguished, terminated, when he was found guilty of conspiracy to murder Cherica. He has no parental rights. He’s not been a dad,” Saundra said.
In the meantime, Saundra and Chancellor will continue to spread their message of love and forgiveness. The two go to prisons and speak about domestic violence with Chancellor’s “smile ministry.”
State probation and parole agents said their powerful personal story has had a life-changing impact on offenders. Last year, Channel 9 reunited Saundra and Chancellor with one of those offenders.
Saundra said she doesn’t know the motivation behind Carruth’s letter, but she insisted it won’t change the work she is doing with Chancellor.
“It’s way too much domestic violence going on, and just violence period. My sole goal has been to promote peace, and I’m gonna be on that mission ‘til I die,” Saundra said.
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