CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The attorney for former Carolina Panther Rae Carruth said his client was at the scene when his pregnant girlfriend was shot four times and killed in 1999.
Attorney David Rudolf said Carruth is adamant he did not set up the murder of Cherica Adams.
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Carruth has spent the past 19 years in prison for orchestrating the death of Adams. Their son, Chancellor, survived and was born prematurely with cerebral palsy.
Carruth is scheduled to be released from a North Carolina prison on Oct. 22.
Rudolf said Carruth was driving in a different car than Adams when shots were fired. Carruth told him in July that he left the scene in “panic.”
Rudolf told Channel 9 that Carruth said he was in the car in front of Adams on Rea Road the night she was killed, and that when he saw another vehicle pull up, he got scared because he thought someone was after him because he had backed out of a drug deal with Bret Watkins and Michael Kennedy.
That's something Carruth never admitted until he met with his attorney in July.
"Rae was very worried that, in fact, that car that was pulling out was, in fact, not pulling out to pass Cherica," Rudolf said. "That car was pulling out, in fact, to do something to him."
Rudolf said Carruth took off and didn't see Watkins fire five shots into Adams' window.
“I mean, he didn't know,” Rudolf said. “He took off. That's the bottom line here.”
Carruth never testified at his trial so prosecutors didn’t get the chance to grill him on his version of the events.
Rudolf visited Carruth in prison weeks ago and said Carruth is taking moral responsibility for creating the tragic situation.
“And so he regrets everything that happened,” Rudolf said.
“Has he changed?” reporter Mark Becker asked.
“You know, it's hard for me to say,” Rudolf said. “He seems a lot wiser to me, a lot more mature, a lot more introspective.”
(Chancellor Adams and Saundra Adams)
Jurors acquitted Carruth of first-degree murder but convicted him because they believed he set up the murder.
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