Wife Still Jailed in NFL Player's Slaying

A judge rejected the latest attempt by the widow and accused killer of NFL running back Fred Lane to be released from jail so she could care for her two young children but agreed to hold a bond hearing Friday.

Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Richard Boner turned down the bid today by Deidra Lane’s attorney for a second bond hearing in two days. The hearing was opposed by prosecutors. But Boner said he would hold a hearing Friday.

“I’m not saying I’m going to grant bond,” Boner told lawyers. “What I am going to do is let both sides have their say.”

With Deidra Lane sobbing audibly at the defense table, defense Henderson Hill tried to persuade Boner to hold the hearing this morning.

“She is the sole provider for two very young children,” Hill said, adding that she posed no danger to others or flight risk. “Her 4-year-old son has gone through a traumatic loss.”

Prosecutors argued against holding the hearing today, saying the family of Fred Lane had not been notified.

“I’m confident they would very much want to be here,” said Assistant District Attorney Gentry Caudle.

Deidra Lane, 25, is charged with murder in the shooting death of her husband. Prosecutors told another judge on Wednesday that she could face first-degree murder in the case.

Faces Murder Charge

On Wednesday, Deidra Lane appeared close to tears as she appeared before Mecklenburg County District Court Judge Philip Howerton, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit and shackles on her legs. She had turned herself in to authorities in the company of her attorney just before 7:30 a.m. that day.

She responded “Yes” when Howerton asked her if she knew she had been charged with murder.

Under North Carolina law, she was charged with one count that covers both first- and second-degree murder. Contrary to what had been previously reported, prosecutors did not indicate which level they would pursue.

First-degree murder is punishable by execution, while second-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Teammates Respond

Fred Lane, the former Carolina Panthers running back who was traded to Indianapolis during the off-season, was shot in the chest and head at close range as he walked in the front door of the couple’s suburban Charlotte home on July 6. Police have said Deidra Lane shot him during a dispute.

The charges came nearly seven weeks after Fred Lane’s death.

“It’s about time,” said Carolina Panthers running back Tshimanga Biakabutuka, as the team prepared for this week’s final NFL preseason game. “I just wonder what took so long for them to press the charges.”

Many of Lane’s former Panthers teammates said they had hoped Deidra Lane would eventually be charged, though the actual event provided little comfort.

“This is probably a sad day because of remembering Fred and remembering the memories and stuff,” receiver Muhsin Muhammad said.

Troubled Marriage

Fred and Deidra Lane were married in 1998. She had filed a complaint against her husband in March, saying he snatched a necklace from around her neck during an argument, causing her to fall. She did not press charges and later said she only called police because she was locked out of the house.

A grand jury in Jackson, Tenn., indicted Fred Lane on three days before his death on misdemeanor drug charges stemming from a Feb. 3 arrest. Prosecutors dropped weapons charges, citing a lack of evidence.

Deidra Lane also has had run-ins with police. In 1995, she was charged with attempted robbery of a South Carolina credit union. She completed a diversion program and was not convicted.

Just last week, warrants were issued charging her with writing two worthless checks, one on May 30 for $150, the other on June 1 for $300, according to the Mecklenburg County sheriff’s office.

Carolina’s Leading Rusher

Lane, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound running back, played for three seasons with Carolina and became the Panthers’ leading career rusher in November.

The Panthers re-signed Lane before the 1999 season to a two-year, $1.276 million contract with a $300,000 signing bonus. Lane shared rushing duties with Biakabutuka but played largely as a backup late in the season.

Lane is one of two former Panthers to face legal troubles in recent months.

Rae Carruth, the Panthers’ top 1997 draft pick, was charged last fall with fatally shooting his pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams. Carruth is being held without bond in Charlotte while he awaits trial.