Rae Carruth’s defense attorneys must decide whether to put their client on the stand to refute testimony that pin his pregnant girlfriend’s death on him.
The murder trial of the former NFL player will resume today following last week’s holiday recess.
So far, the jury mostly has the word of Carruth’s lead attorney, David Rudolf, who says Carruth’s didn’t have anything to do with the November 1999 attack on Cherica Adams.
But prosecutors have put two co-defendants on the stand who testified that Carruth hatched the plan to kill Adams, who was pregnant with Carruth’s child. Adams died a month after she was shot. Her son survived and is now in the custody of Adams’ mother.
In five previous weeks of trial testimony, the prosecution also used Adams’ 911 call and notes placing suspicions about Carruth’s involvement in the shooting.
Will He Take Stand?
Carruth’s attorneys say they won’t decide whether to put him on the stand until the last minute. The lawyer of a third co-defendant who has not testified says making Carruth a witness might be a good move.
“I think the state has done a good enough job that it behooves David [Rudolf] to put Carruth on to counter that,” said James Gronquist, the attorney for co-defendant Stanley Drew Abraham.
“My personal view is that if the state proves that Rae was at the scene, then they’re likely to get a conviction,” Gronquist said. “I think Rae has to get up and say he wasn’t there and be believed.”
Carruth, 26, could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in Adams’ death. Prosecutors claim Carruth hired men to kill Adams because he did not want to pay additional child support.
Charlotte defense attorney James Wyatt, who is not involved in the case, agreed Carruth would probably be helped by speaking, but warned: “The disadvantage is, it’ll open him up to questioning about virtually any subject by the prosecution.”Admitted Gunman Fingered Carruth
The admitted gunman, Van Brett Watkins, and Michael Kennedy, accused of driving Watkins, testified earlier that Carruth set up the attack and blocked Adams’ car with his vehicle so Watkins could shoot her. Carruth’s defense claims he wasn’t involved and wasn’t at the scene.
Watkins’ testimony was erratic and argumentative, but he remained insistent about Carruth’s involvement, telling a story similar to the one told by Kennedy.
Watkins pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a deal with prosecutors, who chose not to call him to the stand. Instead, the defense was obliged to call him in order to get admitted his statement to a jailer that he shot Adams on his own, in a fit of rage.