Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth was released from the Sampson Correctional Institution in Clinton, North Carolina, at 8 a.m. EST Monday morning. Carruth was convicted in 2001 of conspiracy to commit murder in the shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend Cherica Adams in 1999.

Ex-Panther Rae Carruth Released From Prison

Carruth, now 44, has an 18-year-old son who survived the shooting while in his mother’s womb on November 16, 1999, when the plot to kill Adams unfolded rapidly. Adams was shot four times by Van Brett Watkins in a Charlotte neighborhood after returning from a movie with Carruth. Watkins was hired by Carruth and was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years. Adams died weeks after the shooting.

Carruth said that he was  “somewhat frightened” before his release, concerned over the reception he might face. “I’m nervous just about how I’ll be received by the public. I still have to work,” he said.” 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.”


The negativity directed toward Carruth very likely stems from the harrowing scene of the shooting that was almost cinematic: Carruth stopped his vehicle in front of Adams’, blocking the two-way road allowing Watkins to pull alongside in his vehicle to kill Adams through the window.

The injuries caused severe oxygen and blood loss, leaving Adams with fatal injuries and detrimental effects to her son. Chancellor Lee Adams, their now-18-year-old son, has cerebral palsy and has been raised by Adams’ mother, Saundra Adams. Carruth insists he would like to have a relationship with his son, while neither his son nor Saundra Adams was present for his release on Monday.


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