By Dave Andrusko
Over the years we have written a series of stories about Rae Carruth, the despicable one-time wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, who in 1999, arraigned to lure his pregnant girlfriend out into a remote area where the hit man he had hired to murder Cherica Adams shot her through the window of her car. Cherica Adams’s “crime” for which she must die was that she had refused to abort their child.
But she miraculously survived and called 9-11. According to Charlotte Observer sports columnist Scott Fowler, who was recently interviewed by Ben Strauss of the Washington Post, the dispatcher asked Cherica Adams, “Who do you think did this?” She says, “Rae Carruth” and they can’t understand her because she’s moaning in pain. And finally she says, “Number 89.” The number was famous.”
Adams, who was seven months pregnant, died a month later. Her son, Chancellor Lee, deprived of oxygen for over an hour, suffers from cerebral palsy and severe learning disabilities.
However, there is most certainly a hero in this terrible story: Cherica’s mother, Saundra Adams, who has raised Chancellor all these years.
Carruth was released from prison today after serving nearly 18 years in prison. Cindy Boren wrote a strangely emotionless story that appeared in the Post. She tells us how in January 2001 Carruth was convicted “of conspiracy to commit murder, using an instrument with intent to destroy an unborn child and discharging a firearm into occupied property.”
She adds, “Jurors found Carruth not guilty of first-degree murder, but jurors later said they would have convicted Carruth on a second-degree charge, had that been brought against him instead.”
So Carruth, unlike Cherica Adams, was doubly lucky. The death penalty had been taken off the table from the start and he was convicted of a much lesser crime.
To this day Carruth insists vaguely that things didn’t go down the way prosecutors said—that he didn’t intend for Cherica Adams to be murdered. His lawyer seemed to lay the blame at the feet of the people Carruth hired to murder her. David Rudolf told WRAL that, “Rae was hanging out with people he should not have been hanging out with.”
There are a number of remarkable threads—and people—to this story. First and foremost Cherica, who refused to kill her unborn child, And Chancellor, whom Fowler and other reporters describe as “remarkably happy.”
That is because of the incredible Saundra Adams. Fowler told Strauss
She would never want someone to say she’s a saint. She’s still feisty. She’s still mad at Carruth in ways. But she has forgiven him, and she really has moved on in her life raising this disabled grandson who’s got cerebral palsy and brain damage and it’s remarkable. I mean all the characters are interesting in their own way, but Saundra is the inspirational one. And she has stirred some emotions in me that I didn’t know I had.
The other person, of course, is Rae Carruth. Narcissist from the top of his head to the soles of his feet, Carruth unbelievably told CNN affiliate WSOC, “I’m nervous just about how I’ll be received by the public. 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.”
Why should anyone feel “hate and negativity” towards this poor guy? All he did was arraign for an execution straight out of “The Godfather.”
Adams’s car is trapped in between Carruth’s car (which had suddenly stopped) and the assailant’s car.
Seconds later Adams is shot four times. After calling the police, the mortally wounded woman goes into a coma. In spite of everything the medical staff did for her, Cherica died a month later. Why? Because she’d refused to abort.
Between the shooting and the time the baby was delivered by emergency C-Section, nearly 70 minutes had passed. Although the baby’s brain was deprived of oxygen in the aftermath of the 1999 shooting, he was born alive. However the brain damage resulted in cerebral palsy and brain damage.
As for Carruth, following the shooting, “He went to the home of Hannibal Navies, a Panthers teammate, and played video games there.”
Yup, Carruth is practically a victim himself.
Last year Kirk Walden wrote a powerful story, “When You Hear About ‘Choice,’ Remember Rae Carruth’s Victim, Son.” He concluded
His father’s scheme failed. But Chancellor Lee lives on, a tribute to a mom who believed he was worth her own life.
When someone talks to me about “choice,” I’ll remember Cherica Adams, Chancellor Lee Adams and his grandmother Saundra. Each made a choice about life, and each made the right decision.