Teammate: Carruth Was Eager for Son's Birth

Two of Rae Carruth’s teammates on the Carolina Panthers gave jurors in his murder trial a different portrayal of a man charged with orchestrating the drive-by shooting of his pregnant girlfriend.

Muhsin Muhammad, a wide receiver for the Panthers who roomed with Carruth, told jurors Wednesday that he and Carruth not only discussed the impending birth of his second child, but also the mother, Cherica Adams.

Two other Carolina players testified Tuesday that Carruth never mentioned Adams to them.

“We talked about the fact that he did not have a bond with his child in California,” Muhammad testified, speaking about Carruth’s son from a previous relationship. “He was excited about this opportunity to bond with this child.”

Carruth said he wanted to remain good friends with Adams because he didn’t want “any bad blood” that could harm his relationship with their child, Muhammad testified.

Muhammad also disputed the state’s claim that Carruth was worried about his financial future because he missed several games with an ankle injury prior to the drive-by shooting of Adams on Nov. 16, 1999.

“He’s a first-round pick, single, with one son,” he said. “I’m a second-round pick with a wife and two kids. I don’t think Rae was hurting for any money.”

Navies Supports Teammate

The jury also heard from Hannibal Navies, a linebacker who played with Carruth at Colorado and with the Panthers. They roomed together at Carruth’s house for several months in 1999.

Answering questions from defense attorney David Rudolf, Navies recalled overhearing a conversation between Carruth and Adams.

“She was talking about not feeling too well,” he said. “They also talked about doctors’ appointments and things like that.”

Court ended Wednesday with Navies still on the stand.

He continued testifying today, when defense attorney David Rudolf played a tape of an eight-minute police statement Navies gave to police the day Adams was shot. Rudolf used the tape to corroborate Navies’ testimony.

Forensic Expert Casts Doubt

Jurors also watched a videotaped deposition by forensic scientist Henry Lee, who cast doubts on the prosecution’s argument that Carruth was present at the shooting.

Prosecution witnesses have said Carruth, driving in front of Adams, stopped his car so she would have to stop, allowing the gunman to fire at her.

Lee gave his testimony Dec. 6 after the jury was sent home. Judge Charles Lamm agreed to a request by Rudolf to allow Lee to testify out of turn to accommodate Lee’s schedule.

Lee, who has worked cases like the O.J. Simpson trial, said he determined that of the five shots that hit Adams’ car, three were fired straight at the car from a 90-degree angle. The last two were fired at an angle, suggesting possible movement by Adams’ car, he said.

Lee’s inspection of the cars found no damage to the front of Adams’ BMW sports car. Had Adams tried to drive away, he said, there likely would have been a collision if Carruth was parked right in front of her.

Adams, 24, was eight months pregnant with Carruth’s son when she was shot. The baby, Chancellor, survived, but Adams died a month later.

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