C H A R L O T T E, N.C., Nov. 20, 2000 -- Former NFL star Rae Carruth went on trialon murder charges today, with a prosecutor accusing him of havinghis pregnant girlfriend killed because she wouldn’t get anabortion.
“He wanted her to have an abortion, but she was adamant in herrefusal. She wanted to have that baby,” Gentry Caudill told thejury.
A defense attorney blamed the shooting on a friend of Carruth’swho was angry because Carruth would not provide money to buymarijuana.
Death Penalty Sought
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the 26-year-oldCarruth, a former wide receiver with the Carolina Panthers.
He is accused of hiring someone to shoot 24-year-old ChericaAdams in her car in 1999. She was eight months pregnant with hischild. The baby was delivered by emergency Caesarean section andsurvived. Adams died a month later.
The prosecutor told jurors that Carruth and his three allegedaccomplices laid a trap, and Carruth helped close it by blockingAdams’ car so another man could pull alongside and shoot her.
Before she died, Adams gave statements and wrote notes, sayingthat Carruth blocked her car, then left the scene, according toCaudill.
However, defense attorney David Rudolf said Van Brett Watkins,who has confessed to the shooting and agreed to testify againstCarruth, was angry because Carruth would not provide money for amarijuana purchase.
Testimony in earlier hearings indicated Watkins, 40, told ajailer he shot Adams because he was mad at Carruth and becauseAdams made an obscene gesture at him from her car.
Race Issue Raised
Rudolf said the shooting “had absolutely nothing to do with thefact that she was pregnant.”
Rudolf said Carruth had enough money to support the child and“participated in the pregnancy. … He went and bought babyfurniture. … They agreed to co-parent this baby. They weren’tgoing to get married.”
Two other men are also charged with murder: Michael EugeneKennedy, 25, accused of driving the car from which the shots werefired, and Stanley Drew “Boss” Abraham, a passenger in the car.They will be tried separately.
In a Court TV interview before the trial opened, Carruth’smother proclaimed his innocence.
“If my son had done this, I would be in front of this camerasaying he deserves to be punished but don’t kill him,” TheodryCarruth said. “But my son didn’t do this. He is innocent.”
During jury selection, lawyers for Carruth, who is black, maderace an issue as prosecutors repeatedly dismissed blacks from thejury. But Judge Charles Lamm ruled that the dismissals were basedon opposition to capital punishment and other factors other thanrace.
The jury has seven white men, two white women and three blackwomen.