Grandmother says former football star won’t ever get custody of son he wanted dead

By Dave Andrusko

Chancellor Lee Adams and his grandmother, Saundra Adams

If I hadn’t read the story about Rae Carruth, I know my day would have 3,000% better. I am almost speechless.

It speaks volumes that the man who arranged for his pregnant girlfriend’s murder would wax indignant at the woman’s mother who compassionately cared for the son whose brain injuries were a product of that assassination. The former star receiver for the Carolina Panthers professional football team is just as self-absorbed and narcissistic now as he approaches parole as he was in 1999 when he hired two men to kill Cherica Adams, his on-again off-again girlfriend who was 30 weeks pregnant at the time with his child.

We’ve written three stories about Saundra Adams, Ms. Adams’ remarkable mother, who has cared for Chancellor Lee Adams, who was born 10 weeks premature in an emergency C-section. As the Daily Mail explained.

Carruth hired Van Brett Watkins, who shot Cherica Adams, and Michael Kennedy, who drove the car.

All four bullets missed him, but because Cherica Adams was losing blood, Chancellor sustained permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy after being without oxygen for 70 minutes before he was born.

So how did we hear about Rae Carruth’s outreach to Saundra Adams? He “broke his silence” by “sending a letter to a Charlotte TV station and subsequently telling it in an interview from prison that he was apologetic for the death of Cherica Adams,” according to the Washington Post.

But what a letter it was. He said he “was making his thoughts public to rebut the ‘lies’ he claimed Adams has made about his state of contrition and the nature of his past relationship with herself and her daughter. ‘If I say publicly, ‘Ms. Adams, I apologize; Ms. Adams, I take responsibility for what happened,’ that she can no longer get on television and do an interview and say Rae has never apologized to me,” Carruth told the station.

If that weren’t brazen enough, in his 15-page letter Carruth said he wants to take custody of Chancellor.

“I mean come on, Ms. Adams, the reality is you aren’t going to be around forever,” Carruth wrote. “At some point someone else will have to be responsible for Chancellor’s care. … I would like to be in a position to be seriously considered as a viable option.”

The man who arraigned for the death of Saundra Adams’ daughter; whose hit squad’s bullets rendered Chancellor brain-damaged and afflicted with cerebral palsy wants to not only raise his now18-year-old son but also accuse Saundra Adams of “us[ing] my silence against me”?

A few months ago, Charlotte Observer reporter Scott Fowler wrote a brilliant follow up story to one he had written years before. Here’s what he wrote in November:

Carruth’s defense lawyer in his trial argued that Watkins decided to try to kill Cherica Adams on his own. Watkins did so because he was upset that Carruth wouldn’t finance him in a drug deal he wanted to make, the defense said.

Carruth did not testify at his own trial and has never acknowledged any role in the crime. In the only interview he has done since the shooting, in 2001, he told CNN/SI that he was completely innocent.

Which worked for Carruth at the trial. While convicted of three felonies, including conspiracy to commit murder, he was acquitted of first-degree murder. (According to the Post, the other two men “also went to prison for pulling the trigger and driving a getaway car, respectively.”)

For her part Saundra Adams told Scott Fowler, “I’ve forgiven Rae already, but to have any type of relationship with him, there does have to be some repentance. And I think this opens the door.”

She added, ”But I can say definitively he’s not ever going to have custody of Chancellor. Chancellor will be raised either by me or, after I’m gone, by someone else who loves him and who knows him.

“He will never be raised by a stranger — someone he doesn’t know and who tried to kill him.”