Former Panthers receiver Rae Carruth has lost an appeal of his conviction for plotting to murder his pregnant girlfriend.
Carruth’s appeal was based on the trial court’s decision to admit evidence of certain statements made by his girlfriend, Cherica Adams, before she died. Although Adams never got out of the hospital after Carruth arranged for her to be gunned down, she did live long enough to make a 911 call implicating Carruth, to write a note to a police officer saying she suspected Carruth, and to nod her head yes when an officer asked if she thought Carruth was behind the shooting.
In today’s ruling (PDF here), the appeals court referred to Adams’ statements as “an extremely powerful first-hand account of the crime by the victim herself.” The appeals court did say that some of Adams’ statements to police should not have been admitted, but it called those statements “mere drops in the sea of evidence offered by the State to show Carruth’s guilt.”
In 2001 Carruth was sentenced to 18 to 24 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder, discharging a firearm into occupied property and using an instrument with intent to destroy an unborn child. He is expected to be released in 2018.
Carruth’s unborn son was severely injured but survived the shooting and is now 11 years old.
The Panthers selected Carruth out of Colorado in the first round of the 1997 NFL draft. He played 22 games in three NFL seasons.