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Rae Carruth’s son and an incredible story of forgiveness

At age 12, Chancellor Lee Adams can barely speak, is mostly confined to a wheelchair and can’t feed himself. He’ll always be severely disabled because before he was born his father, then-Panthers receiver Rae Carruth, hired two people to murder the unborn Chancellor and his mother, Cherica Adams, so that Carruth wouldn’t have to pay child support.

It’s a horrifying story, except that as the story is told in this week’s Sports Illustrated, it’s actually a touching story about the loving way Chancellor has been raised by his grandmother, and the forgiveness that Chancellor’s grandmother has shown toward Carruth, who is in prison for conspiracy to commit murder and is expected to be released in about six years.

The full Sports Illustrated story isn’t online, but its author, Thomas Lake, writes in a piece at that Chancellor, despite his severe disabilities, is an astonishingly happy boy who has been well cared for by his grandmother, Saundra Adams.

“He is the happiest person I’ve ever met,” Lake writes. “There’s a light inside him that I’ve never seen anywhere else. I’ve talked to several other people about his effect on me, and they say it happened to them too. Wherever he goes — to church, to physical therapy, to the Special Olympics — he makes people feel better by his mere presence. When he looks into your eyes and says hello, the whole thing feels almost spiritual. And then, of course, you have to ask yourself: If a kid like this can be so happy, what right do I have to complain?”

Saundra thought her days of raising babies were over, and she certainly never thought she’d be feeding and changing a severely disabled boy for years, but instead of seeing Chancellor as a burden, she has seen him as a blessing. Instead of being angry that Carruth murdered her daughter in an attempt to ensure Chancellor would never be born, she says she is genuinely grateful for Carruth, because without Carruth there would be no Chancellor.

“I’m not gonna have anything negative to say about him,” Saundra says of Carruth. “I thank him for my grandson. I thank him for my grandson. . . . Like I say, you can focus on what you’ve lost or what you have left. So I didn’t lose. I have my grandson. I have my daughter with me in my heart, always.”

Chancellor’s grandma doesn’t want to burden him with hatred of his father, so she avoids explaining to him exactly what caused his disabilities, and why he has never had a mother.

“Well, he knows that Mommy was killed, and that Daddy did, you know, Daddy did a baaad thing. And he’s in jail right now paying for the bad thing that he did. And we just say that he, you know, he made a mistake,” Saundra says.

Despite Saundra’s forgiveness, it’s hard to read the story and not conclude that Carruth is a despicable human being. In fact, before he arranged for the killing of Cherica Adams, Carruth had another son he was refusing to support, and the Sports Illustrated story reveals that when the mother of that son came to Carruth with an offer to cut the support he had been ordered to pay in half if he would agree to do things like call their son on his birthday, Carruth replied that she shouldn’t be surprised if she got into a fatal car accident.

For Chancellor to be born to a father like Rae Carruth, with a mother who died shortly after his birth, and with disabilities that would make it impossible to live a normal life, and for Chancellor to still be described by the writer who chronicled his life as “the happiest person I’ve ever met,” is truly remarkable. It’s amazing that Thomas Lake set out to tell the story of the Rae Carruth case and found a story with a happy ending.

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83 Responses to “Rae Carruth’s son and an incredible story of forgiveness”
  1. mydadyourmom says: Sep 14, 2012 4:30 PM


  2. normnailz says: Sep 14, 2012 4:30 PM

    one word can sum up Carruth:

  3. silvernblackpa says: Sep 14, 2012 4:31 PM

    The fact that Rae Carruth is ever getting out of jail is a farce.

    Saundra Adams, by contrast, seems like a truly remarkable person the world needs more of.

  4. joelvis72 says: Sep 14, 2012 4:34 PM

    Carruth doesn’t deserve forgiveness, he deserves to be strapped to a gurney with a needle in his arm. That poor kid.

  5. grennandgold4ever says: Sep 14, 2012 4:34 PM

    This is the greatest post I have ever read on this site and I have been reading it since its inception. Thank you for mentioning this article in SI. No matter what happens to our teams this year, we should all give thanks to God for Chancellor. Enjoy week #2!

  6. thekiy says: Sep 14, 2012 4:35 PM

    I don’t even support the death penalty, but I would not object if they gave it to Carruth.

  7. floriosbigtoe says: Sep 14, 2012 4:36 PM

    Shoulda got life.

  8. sportsmeccabi says: Sep 14, 2012 4:36 PM

    He shouldn’t be surprised if he “gets in a fatal car accident”.

    I’m usually one to support second chances and all that liberal jazz, but this guy has no respect for human life. He should be serving life.

  9. roxtar10 says: Sep 14, 2012 4:37 PM

    Last sentence really kinda says it all.
    Amazing the level of Saundra Adams that she can be that close to all this and be that forgiving. There’s definitely a special reward for people like her.

  10. kingpel says: Sep 14, 2012 4:37 PM

    Must read.

    Titled “The Boy They Couldnt Kill”.

    Sad stuff.

  11. ndallasruss says: Sep 14, 2012 4:38 PM

    Right or wrong, reading about this woman’s forgiveness and this boy’s happiness despite the terrible things that have been done, makes me hate Rae Carruth even more. Here’s hoping something bad happens to him before he gets out in six years…

  12. oriolesvsravens says: Sep 14, 2012 4:40 PM

    The beauty of life. A man didn’t want his son because of dealings with an ex. Kills the woman and severely damages his unborn. Now the child and mother of his ex shine bright and forgive him for his act out of fear and carelessness that ended his life through the prison system. Bless them both.

  13. nomercy2012 says: Sep 14, 2012 4:41 PM

    silvernblackpa – I could NOT agree with you more. This man needs to stay locked up. I’m sorry, but just because he didn’t actually pull the trigger on this young woman and his unborn son, doesn’t make him any less responsible for her death and his disabilities.

    Except, I guess…in the eyes of the law.

  14. johnnyjagfan says: Sep 14, 2012 4:41 PM

    I wish the first woman would have reported that threat to the police. If they’d of taken her seriously, that is. Who knows?

    An amazing woman. There should be a foundation set up to help them.

    I wonder what’ll happen to Carruth upon release? I’d imagine not everyone is so forgiving.

    What a great story. Can’t wait to read the whole story.

    All because of child support? And wouldn’t call a kid on his birthday? How minimal and he couldn’t do that? Heartless.

    I hope his cellmates get to read the story.

  15. ajschn06 says: Sep 14, 2012 4:42 PM

    How is he getting out of jail!? Seriously!?

  16. steviemo says: Sep 14, 2012 4:43 PM

    Can’t wait for Carruth to get out in six years so he can get what’s coming to him.

  17. fwippel says: Sep 14, 2012 4:44 PM

    Whoa! Carruth is expected to be released in six years? Talk about a miscarriage of justice. I’ve seen cases where the guy who does the hiring is the one who gets the death penalty. Why does Carruth get off so easy? Was this a plea bargain?

    Despite all that, this is a an uplifting story. Thanks for posting this.

  18. briang123 says: Sep 14, 2012 4:45 PM

    That Carruth gets out of jail in six years angers me more than I can say in words.

  19. tooz72 says: Sep 14, 2012 4:46 PM

    what an incredible person that grandmother is

  20. racksie says: Sep 14, 2012 4:47 PM

    How is he even eligible for parole? Amazing story. I’d like to meet that kid.

  21. EJ says: Sep 14, 2012 4:48 PM

    Carruth is a POS, and should spend the rest of his lonely, sad and utterly disturbing life behind bars. Either that or he should be forced to enter a program where he is to help disabled children with everyday issues. Donating his time making sure that a physically disabled child gets what he or she needs to live a good life. Personally, I’d rather see the scumbag rot behind bars that give him the opportunity to be around someone special. He doesn’t deserve a thing for as long as he lives. Scum. Rotten scum.

  22. wayne1693 says: Sep 14, 2012 4:49 PM

    An amazing PFT story! Heart-rendering, and furthermore, I must admit I am wrong: A great PFT story can be written without forced sarcasm, humor, and puns.

  23. packmanfan says: Sep 14, 2012 4:49 PM

    We can learn a lot by her example to forgive.
    She is a strong woman and he is lucky to have her to raise him.

  24. mountaindont says: Sep 14, 2012 4:49 PM

    Too many fathers out there who aren`t in jail but refuse to be a real father to their kids. These guys are the true losers of society. Let`s not excuse the irresponsible mothers as well who have kids with these losers.

  25. rexryanschoolofpodiatry says: Sep 14, 2012 4:50 PM

    How the hell is that coward rae carruth getting out of jail? I thought he was on death row. He damn well should be.

  26. nflofficeadmin says: Sep 14, 2012 4:51 PM

    The ultimate price is for Carruth to get out of jail and feel the embrace of his son hear him say I love you and KNOW that everything could have been different and it all lays on his hands. That is his eternal sentence.

  27. rc33 says: Sep 14, 2012 4:51 PM

    Carruth has no respect for humanity. None. Zero. So by all means, let’s let him out in 6 years.

  28. bobonmycob says: Sep 14, 2012 4:53 PM

    Guys a complete scumbag. I hope he gets into a fatal car accident when he gets out.

  29. pooflingingmonkey says: Sep 14, 2012 4:54 PM

    I read the story a day or so ago, and it made me weep. I have two healthly, “normal” kids, and they could learn a thing or two from Chancellor.

    Good luck to that kid, and a big salute to his Grandmother.

  30. midwestfan says: Sep 14, 2012 4:55 PM

    The number one reason this country is fd up is that some drug dealer is doing 25 more years of federal prison time, while Carruth is getting out of jail.

  31. jeffw says: Sep 14, 2012 4:56 PM

    Only six years… I wonder if he can get in shape to return to the Panthers. He would probably still be better than anyone else they have at DB…

  32. joecool16280 says: Sep 14, 2012 5:02 PM

    Just brought tears to my eyes.

    Before I was a father I probably would just think “what a nice story” but after you have kids it changes every thought you have as a human. Thank God for that grandmother for she’s a better person than I.

    And as far as Ray goes…he will have to answer to someone or something else when his time is up on this earth.

  33. raidernation831 says: Sep 14, 2012 5:03 PM

    Forgiveness…grace…love…while sometimes undeserved, are gifts offered by God.

  34. norseyapper says: Sep 14, 2012 5:03 PM

    Please, read the SI article. It is a very good piece that should give all of us something to consider.

    When I read it I found it impossible not to want the absolute worst for Carruth. He’s an animal.

    At the same time though it was humbling to read about the tremendous spiritual character of this woman and her heart of forgiveness. Also, that this crippled young man is filled with joy is a testimony to her.

  35. zn0rseman says: Sep 14, 2012 5:04 PM


    How the heck is this guy getting out of jail in six years?!? He should been locked up permanently.

    Next thing you know he’ll be playing in the NFL again on a team with Micheal Vick and Jerramy Stevens.

    Our justice system is a joke.

  36. teambringitstrong says: Sep 14, 2012 5:05 PM

    All of you condemning Carruth need to RE-READ the article and focus on what they HAVE instead of what they don’t. Carruth will get what’s coming to him but focus on the uplifting story of the boy and his grandmother and not Rae Carruth.
    And as someone with a JD all I can say is Carruth must’ve had darn near Perry Mason as counsel.

  37. dasmol says: Sep 14, 2012 5:05 PM

    Grandma gets it. Forgiveness isn’t for Carruth. By forgiving him, she frees herself.

  38. Nevis says: Sep 14, 2012 5:13 PM

    Proof that the human spirit is stronger than the ugliness of evil.

    Burn in hell, Rae.

  39. dionoil says: Sep 14, 2012 5:15 PM

    I agee with everyone here. He avoided life in prison because he has a VERY, VERY good lawyer. That’s what happens when you have money.

  40. areyoudue says: Sep 14, 2012 5:22 PM

    Thanks for that story. It was a blessing to read in these troubled times…

  41. 1stbaseman44 says: Sep 14, 2012 5:24 PM

    i say we start sending all the guys on his cell block the full story. carruth punk ass bitch. hope one day that he gets his. all this over money. how sad.

  42. anrockray says: Sep 14, 2012 5:33 PM

    I will never understand how a person who willfully murders another human being can ever be allowed to resume a normal life outside of prison.

  43. sportfreak1996 says: Sep 14, 2012 5:33 PM

    Truly heartbreaking.

    My biggest question is how much time does Carruth have in prison to be on PFT in order to put 5 “thumbs down” on everyone’s comments here?

    There’s can’t be 5 unique people out there that disagree with every comment that has been posted here.

  44. anrockray says: Sep 14, 2012 5:37 PM

    …and here’s hoping Cherica Adams has a brother or two waiting for Rae when he walks out of jail.

  45. giantsfanlewis says: Sep 14, 2012 5:38 PM

    Seems like everytime I read this story more and more people are ready to mob around the jail when he is released. And I don’t blame them. I still can’t read that story without tearing up. It’s a very touching story. I wish the grandma and the son the best. When you read the whole stir it’s worse. He achually was having his gf fallow him and stopped so the hit man could pull beside her and shoot her. He was directly involved and that he’s allowed out of prison is why I know our legal system is flawed

  46. imthedudedude says: Sep 14, 2012 5:38 PM

    Horrible story with a beautiful meaning and message in the end. Very nice. Truly is an incredible act of forgiveness and a way to look at every day as a blessing.

  47. cdub777 says: Sep 14, 2012 5:38 PM

    Sandra Adams is a great example of forgiveness and compassion,, and should be an example to those who post on the site calling for Rae Carruth’s head without having been personally impacted by his actions. As despicable and cowardly as his crime was, God Almighty CAN change a person and who are we to say that Carruth won’t come out a changed man. When he’s released, he will have paid his debt to society,, whether we agree with it’s severity or not. The story is not finished.

  48. mp4philly says: Sep 14, 2012 5:39 PM

    Sad story. Well said though.

  49. annarborwhodey says: Sep 14, 2012 5:41 PM

    I really hope that the guys in prison with him read this story.

  50. killbuck0936 says: Sep 14, 2012 5:41 PM

    I hope the second this guy steps out of jail someone does the right thing.

  51. coreydean says: Sep 14, 2012 5:45 PM

    Rae Carruth is the lowest form of human filth that ever crawled out of the gene pool masquerading as a human being.

  52. jimbobobjr says: Sep 14, 2012 5:50 PM

    bobonmycob says:
    Sep 14, 2012 4:53 PM
    Guys a complete scumbag. I hope he gets into a fatal car accident when he gets out.


    How about a car accident which leaves him like the girl in Million Dollar Baby?

  53. bbqummhmm says: Sep 14, 2012 5:53 PM

    How do you guys rationalize spewing so much hatred and ugliness out of your hearts towards Carruth (a man you’ve never met), when the very woman who has the most reasons to hate him the most does not???

  54. Mr. Wright 212 says: Sep 14, 2012 5:54 PM

    Only reason Carruth didn’t get life was because he didn’t pull the trigger. Stupid NC laws. The premeditation and conspiracy should have been enough for 1st/life without parole.

  55. Mr. Wright 212 says: Sep 14, 2012 5:56 PM

    annarborwhodey says: Sep 14, 2012 5:41 PM

    I really hope that the guys in prison with him read this story.

    He was in PC for the first couple of years, and has been moved a couple of times since he got locked up. Trust me, people were looking for him on the inside. I was living in NC at the time that this happened and I was furious when that girl died. Other guys were apparently more than furious, but they have done a good job in protecting him. He’ll be haunted by what he did. Someone “doing the right thing” is too easy for him. Let him live with the agony and THEN have to face God for it when his time is up. That is the most utter form of torture that he can have.

  56. timderoche says: Sep 14, 2012 6:03 PM

    Put the small-time drug dealer in prison for 40 years.

    And let the murderer go after 15.

    It’s a national embarrassment.

  57. coloradocowboy says: Sep 14, 2012 6:05 PM

    This is a touching story of forgiveness from the Grandmother, but what I saw was that Chancellor does not yet know what happened. One day he will know. I just hope that this kid’s “light” is not extinguished that day.

  58. steelers4385 says: Sep 14, 2012 6:07 PM

    Thats our justice system. Child molesters and men who conspire to murder or have people murdered get to walk free. We are weak in america in alot of ways. To much sympathy. If someone stole from a store and they got caught, and we chopped their hand off….does anyone think people would think twice? I do. But all it is is a usless personal opinion. Hope this man has the power to change. He definatley doesnt deserve a second chance.

  59. jlb10 says: Sep 14, 2012 6:08 PM

    going to buy the si issue tonight.
    imo there are alot of people on here that just do not get it. dasmol is not one of those people

  60. jlb10 says: Sep 14, 2012 6:27 PM

    timderoche says:
    Sep 14, 2012 6:03 PM
    Put the small-time drug user in prison for 40 years.

    fixed it

  61. holdthemayo123 says: Sep 14, 2012 6:29 PM

    Carruth will still be a young man when he is released – that makes me sick.

  62. j972 says: Sep 14, 2012 6:29 PM

    rae carruth is a hideous piece of life.

  63. nesuperfan says: Sep 14, 2012 6:33 PM

    My beautiful 8-year-old daughter just walked into the room…looking at her makes what he did all the more incomprehensible.

  64. jjbadd385 says: Sep 14, 2012 7:05 PM

    I will never understand how greed can make people do these hideous things. He could have had it all, & money. His priorities were twisted. Had he ever had the chance to see his son born, & looked at him, I like to think he might have saw things differently. How very sad..

  65. jg725 says: Sep 14, 2012 7:18 PM

    I am all for cutting people slack and giving them a second chance, that said – that is one of the most horrific, pre-meditated crimes that I have ever heard of. Rae carruth should be put down verrrrry slowly and with a lot of suffering – he is a true disgrace to the human race.

  66. kbmartinlionfan says: Sep 14, 2012 7:19 PM

    Dasmoth (hope I got it right) said it the best…forgiveness frees the soul.
    As an original member of the “billy bad-ass” club, nothing has ever compelled me to sign up and actually comment.

    This beautiful lady and her faith in the best mankind can be changed that.

    Thank you for reminding all of us what is truly right, and most important in this world….love, compassion and soul.

  67. msclemons67 says: Sep 14, 2012 7:23 PM

    Saundra Adams has a bigger heart and a better soul than I do. No way could I forgive Carruth in her position.

    In fact, if I were in her position Rae’s killers’ would already be hired. He needs to be in hell where he belongs.

  68. hoochbcs says: Sep 14, 2012 7:31 PM

    Someday this kid will grow up and seek vengeance

  69. hifive123 says: Sep 14, 2012 7:39 PM

    Powerful witness for the transformational power of God.

  70. seahawks19081 says: Sep 14, 2012 7:40 PM

    Why do people on here feel the need to give a thumbs down to a story like this? What a bunch of tools that do.

  71. dirtybird70 says: Sep 14, 2012 7:50 PM

    Jail house rules say this monster should be dead already. Minus this animal, what a touching story.

  72. blutbaddenbill says: Sep 14, 2012 7:51 PM

    I Remember when this case went to trial,and i remember when he got caught running away and was caught hiding in the trunk of some woman in another state.I Am glad this child can forgive him for ruining his life and taking his mother’s life, I just hope for his soul’s sake,The Good Lord forgives him when he has his judgement day,or else he’ll roast in hell where he belongs!

  73. greenbaypeckers says: Sep 14, 2012 7:59 PM

    I’m far from being a religious person, in fact I have no faith, live life like there is nothing after……but I can’t think of any other words to describe this…… for every devil, there is an angel. She deserves all the help and goodwill that results from this going main stream, what an amazing woman and what a horrible person Carruth is. I’m happy her story is out there, I’m sure she will have all the financial help she needs, she’s way ahead of that spiritually.

  74. bamasleeper13 says: Sep 14, 2012 8:03 PM

    I read this incredible article, what an amazing family. We could all take lessons from her. It is hard to believe he will get out and be free to have a life. What a miscarriage of justice.

  75. rgledz says: Sep 14, 2012 8:06 PM

    I volunteer to purchase several copies of the latest Sports Illustrated and send them to the prisoners that share cells with Rae Carruth. After they read the story I don’t think he’ll be getting out in 6 years.

  76. realtimeeyes says: Sep 14, 2012 8:49 PM

    Maybe when he gets out, somebody will lock him into the trunk of a car with a pee bottle and some Snicker Bars!

  77. CKL says: Sep 15, 2012 11:29 AM

    To all of you who say he should stay alive so he can think about what he did and regret it forever or meet his son and be filled with regret, it’s a nice thought. HOWEVER….I think that “people” who do the types of things he did aren’t normal with normal human emotions or they wouldn’t be capable of doing what they did to begin with. An example of feelings/actions displayed by normal person who kills someone (albeit accidentally) is Stallworth. He WAS filled with remorse and he DID do as right as he could for the guy’s family from minute 1. Anyone think Carruth is capable of that?My answer is “heck no”.

  78. icdogg says: Sep 15, 2012 2:09 PM

    It is a fine quality for one to be able to forgive the unforgivable, not for the benefit of the offender, but for the benefit of the living victim.

    This is something the family needs to move forward with their lives.

    But that doesn’t mean that the rest of us need to show any such forgiveness.

  79. greygrey911 says: Oct 16, 2012 10:05 AM

    Great inspirational story.

    I feel sorry for Carruth & his mom, to live life knowing that you raised such a monster (especially to feel the way he do toward females & his offsprings, her future grandkids)?! I am in awe.

    RIP Cherica Adams.

  80. aimeelynnn says: Nov 17, 2012 5:06 PM

    Ray Carruth is a greedy psychopath. He should never get out of jail. I think he could easily murder again. People who meet carruth after he is paroled should run from him as fast as they can, and no woman should ever open her legs for this devil. He is completely without conscience that’s why he will continue to damage and murder others in a free society. I pray he makes a mistake with his parole and he gets life but not at the expense of murdering another human life.

  81. a5ricanviolet says: Jan 14, 2013 10:30 PM

    I am watching the story of this even now on TVONE and just in awe that a man can be so heartless. Men must step up to their responsibilities when they decide they want to lay with women with no protection. Sex with no condom = children, stds’s and responsibilities! Women: take responsibility for yourselves. Every man who pursues is not worthy to sleep with you ESPECIALLY with no protection. Men who risk losing something will result to hurting you. Her mother is a strong and faithful woman to forgive him but she forgave him for herself and her own peace of mind and that is the best she can do. May Cherica’s soul rest in peace and may that beautiful boy be filled with abundant love and continue to be a source of happiness to all who meet him.

  82. raineyloren says: Jun 4, 2013 12:34 PM

    I am just reading this story… How can someone be so heartless? How can someone atempt to murder a life that they’ve created? I hope the inmates have and continue to kick his butt. I wonder if this man has any remorse for his actions or if he’s simply grieving the loss of his carrer… After reading that his 1st son’s mother said “don’t be supprised if you happen to get in a accident”, how can this man be granted the opportunity to ever walk the streets again? This little boy has touched my heart & I don’t even know him. I just want to take the time to tell Chancellor Lee Adams (even if he doesn’t get this message)that he has made me appreciate what I have and I will try not to complain too much. This little boy has put a smile on my face from just reading about how joyful he is after all he has been through.

  83. georgiegirl10 says: Jan 27, 2016 7:01 AM

    He should have been convicted of murder, and attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison…no parole. Another despicable human being who should not be allowed to walk the streets again. Forgive him? Sorry, he doesn’t deserve anyone’s forgiveness.
    However, I do understand that she doesn’t want a heart filled with hate.

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