Almost two decades after Rae Carruth was convicted on conspiracy charges related to his girlfriend’s murder, the former NFL player is sharing his side of the story. In a 15-page prison letter published by WBTV Monday (Feb. 19), Carruth apologized for actions that led to the death of Cherica Adams, and blasted her mother, Saundra Adams, who is raising his now 18-year-old son, Chancellor.
Carruth accuses Adams of spreading lies about him in the media. The former Carolina Panthers wide receiver was sentenced to up to 24 years over the 1999 slaying, in which he was said to have hired a hitman to kill Cherica who was pregnant with their child at the time. Carruth will be released from prison this fall.
“I didn’t write this letter in an attempt to win anyone over, especially not the public,” Carruth begins. “I understand what an impossibility such an endeavor would be and aside from that, I have long accepted my lot as a social pariah. Instead, I wrote this letter and choose to make it public in an effort to openly confront and debunk the lies that Ms. Adams continues to tell about me, knowing full well that in doing so it will only add to the public ire against me.”
Carruth wrote the letter to “force the media and public alike” to start challenging Adams “on the truthfulness of the statements” that she has made about him, “claims of forgiveness” and her “insincerity” concerning Chancellor and Carruth “having a relationship going forward.”
Several times in the letter, Carruth thanks Adams for raising Chancellor, but reiterates that she allegedly lied about the nature of her daughter’s relationship with him, among other things.
“I’m actually in awe of the way that you manage to come up with a new, detrimental fact or statement about me year after year, and how you’re able to look into a news camera and utter these fabrications with a straight face,” he writes.
Carruth claims that Adams has done interviews stating that he “never apologized” to her over her daughter’s death. The 44-year-old former athlete says that he began apologizing to Adams early in his incarceration when she used to send him photos and updates on his son.
“Ms. Adams I want to sincerely apologize for the senseless act that led to the death of your daughter Cherica and the permanent mental and physical difficulties that Chancellor has to suffer through. I cannot begin to imagine the hardship and sorrow that you’ve had to endure behind all of this, and I am sorry for every bit of it,” he adds. “Having had time to look back and ponder on how the events of that night unfolded, I want you to know that I take full responsibility for everything. I could have done a better job of keeping Cherica and Chancellor out of harms way.”
Despite being eight months when she was shot, Cherica managed to call 911 and informed the dispatcher that Carruth was driving in front of her and slowed down just as another vehicle pulled up besides her and a shooter opened fire. The shooting left Chancellor without oxygen for several minutes causing him to suffer brain damage and cerebral palsy. He was delivered via emergency cesarian section.
During his trial, prosectors contended that Carruth hired someone to shoot and kill Cherica, to get out of paying child support.
Carruth however denies that child support was an issue because he says it was never brought up with Cherica. According to Carruth, he and Cherica weren’t a couple, but instead had a casual sexual relationship, where neither wanted anything more. He also claims that they were both sexually active with “multiple partners”, so he wasn’t initially sure if Chancellor was his baby.
“In recent years you have openly expressed your willingness to allow me to have a relationship with my son,” Carruth writes to Adams. “My thoughts on this is that if such a thing were to ever come to fruition I would be eternally grateful. I’d give anything to have the opportunity to do right by Chancellor and play a meaningful role in his life.
“I mean come on Ms. Adams, the reality is you aren’t going to be around forever. At some point someone else will have to be responsible for Chancellor’s care. That being said, of course when that time comes, I would like to be in a position to be seriously considered as a viable option.”
In an interview with the Charlotte Observer Monday, Adams said that while she has “forgiven” Carruth he will never get custody of her grandson.
“I’ve forgiven Rae already, but to have any type of relationship with him, there does have to be some repentance,” she said. “And I think this opens the door. But I can say definitively he’s not ever going to have custody of Chancellor. He will never be raised by a stranger — someone he doesn’t know and who tried to kill him.”