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Rae Carruth Trial: 2000-01 - A Promising Football Career Shattered, Cherica Adams Dies And Rae Carruth Flees, Recording Of 911 Call Is Played In Opening Statements

murder carolina panthers charlotte

Defendant: Rae Lamar Theotis Wiggins, a.k.a. Rae Carruth
Crimes Charged: Murder, conspiracy to commit murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle, using a gun to attempt to kill an unborn child
Chief Defense Lawyers: David Rudolph, Christopher Fialko
Chief Prosecutor: Gentry Caudill
Judge: Charles Lamm
Place: Charlotte, North Carolina
Date of Trial: October 23, 2000-January 19, 2001
Verdict: Not guilty of first-degree murder; guilty on all other counts
Sentence: 18-24 years imprisonment

SIGNIFICANCE: The trial of a member of the Carolina Panthers football team for arranging the murder of his pregnant woman friend captured national attention at a time when other incidents raised public concerns about violent acts by professional athletes.

At about half an hour after midnight on the morning of Tuesday, October 16, 1999, Cherica Adams, 24 year years old and six months pregnant, was driving home through a middle-class suburban neighborhood in south Charlotte, North Carolina, when she was shot four times from a car which pulled alongside her. Seriously wounded, she drove her BMW off the road onto the lawn of a private home, and was able to make an emergency call on her car phone. In the phone call, she identified the driver of a car that had pulled in front of her and caused her to slow down immediately before the shooting as Rae Carruth, a member of the Carolina Panthers football team, who had just spent the evening at a movie theater with her. At Carolinas Medical Center, Cherica Adams's baby boy was delivered by emergency Caesarean section and survived; Adams remained in critical condition.

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