After nearly 19 years in prison, former Carolina Panther Rae Carruth is nearing the end of his sentence. Days ahead of his release, Carruth spoke exclusively to WSOC to reflect on his time behind bars and how he feels about becoming a free man in a matter of days.
Carruth was sentenced to prison for planning the murder of his pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams. Doctors managed to save their son, Chancellor Lee, but the trauma Cherica suffered before she died left the child with cerebral palsy.
Carruth spoke to WSOC anchor Erica Bryant by phone, telling her he had mixed emotions about getting out of Sampson Correctional Facility in Clinton, North Carolina.
“I’m excited about just being out of here. I’m nervous just about how I’ll be received by the public,” Carruth said. “I still have to work. I still have to live. I have to exist out there and it just seems like there is so much hate and negativity toward me.”
Rae Carruth will walk out of prison Monday in Sampson County, North Carolina, almost 19 years after the shooting that killed his girlfriend, severely injured his unborn son, and shook a community.
Cherica Adams was shot four times as she drove down Rea Road early on the morning of Nov. 16, 1999.
She managed to call 911 and told the operator that her boyfriend -- and baby’s father, Rae Carruth -- was driving in front of her and had slowed down before the shooting.
Det. Darrell Price questioned Carruth later that morning at the hospital, but said he denied being involved.
“I feel certain he thought we would never solve that case,” Price said. “Because cases are hard to solve without a crime scene. They're very difficult without a crime scene. And we had very little to work with. Our crime scene was her body.”
Adams died four weeks later, and police relied on cell phone evidence -- which back then was new technology -- to make their case against Carruth.
Carruth claimed he had nothing to do with the shooting, but two of his co-defendants, including the man who admitted firing the fatal shots, told the jury at his trial a year later that Carruth had wanted Adams killed because he didn’t want to pay child support.
The jury found Carruth guilty of conspiracy to kill Adams but not guilty of her actual murder.
Click here to read more of WSOC’s exclusive interview with Carruth’s including how he plans to have a relationship with his son.