The former wide receiver’s brief NFL career has long been overshadowed by the dark chapter that unfolded in Charlotte in November 1999. Rae Carruth’s girlfriend, Cherica Adams (who, by his account, had only been a booty call) was 30 weeks pregnant with his baby. Carruth had asked her to get an abortion. She refused.
That night, he took Cherica out to a movie. On the way home, having driven separately, Carruth asked Cherica to follow him. He pulled off to the side of the road, she behind him, as another vehicle drove up and shot five times into her car. Four of the bullets hit her.
Cherica’s baby boy was born that night by emergency C-section. Miraculously, he survived, though with permanent brain damage and lifelong disabilities. Cherica died a month later.
Following a contentious trial, Carruth – who by then had been suspended from the NFL indefinitely – was convicted of conspiracy to murder Cherica, among other charges. He was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years in prison.
A few weeks ago, that 18-year-mark passed, and Carruth walked out of prison a (relatively) free man. He remains on supervised release for nine months in Pennsylvania.
His son, meanwhile, continues to thrive in the care of Cherica’s mother, who raised him from birth. Now 19 years old, Chancellor has cerebral palsy as a result of his traumatic birth and will need full-time care for life.
Over the years, the Charlotte Observer has followed Chancellor’s progress as he repeatedly surpassed all doctors’ expectations. He was recently welcomed as a special guest at the Panthers-Ravens game.
Chancellor – and his grandmother’s devotion to him – have remained the bright spot in this dark chapter of Panthers history.
What do you think? Was 18 years in prison enough? Or are you convinced that he didn’t do it?