Rae Carruth was born in January 1974, in Sacramento, California.He was recruited as a wide receiver at the University of Colorado in 1992. While there, he maintained his point average and had no disciplinary issues. In 1997, the Carolina Panthers selected him in their first-round draft pick. At age 23, he signed a four-year contract for $3.7 million as a starting wide receiver. In 1998, with just one season under his belt, he broke his foot. In 1999, he sprained his ankle, and there were rumors that he was becoming a liability to the Panthers.
Rae Carruth dated many women. Financially, his commitments began to surpass his monthly income. He lost a paternity suit in 1997 and was committed to child support payments of $3,500 a month. He also made bad investments. Money was getting tight and with his injuries, his future concerned him. It was during this time that he learned 24-year old Cherica Adams was pregnant with his child. Their relationship was described as casual and Carruth never stopped dating other women.
On Nov. 15, 1999, Adams and Carruth met for a date. This was only their second date since Adams informed Carruth of her pregnancy. They attended a 9:45 p.m. movie at the Regal Cinema in South Charlotte. When the movie was over, they left in separate cars and Adams followed behind Carruth. Within minutes of leaving the cinema, a car drove up along side Adams and one of the occupants began firing his gun directly at her. She was struck with four bullets into her back, damaging vital organs.
Adams was six months pregnant with Carruth’s child at the time. Soon after her admission to the hospital, she fell into a coma. Doctors saved the child, Chancellor Lee Adams, in an emergency Caesarean section, but Cherica Adams died a week later on December 14.
Carruth went to the police and posted a $3 million bail, with the condition that if either Cherica or Chancellor died, he would turn himself in. However, after Cherica died, Carruth became a fugitive. The Panthers released him a few days later, citing a morals clause in his contract. He was eventually captured after being found hiding in the trunk of a car outside a motel in Parkers Crossroads, Tennessee. Also in the trunk was $3,900 in cash, bottles to hold his urine, extra clothes, candy bars, and a cell phone.
At trial, Carruth was defended by both David Rudolf and Chris Fialko. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle, and using an instrument to destroy an unborn child. He was sentenced to 18 to 24 years in prison. However, he was found not guilty of first-degree murder and was spared the death penalty. Carruth is now serving a sentence of at least 19 years and 11 months at Nash Correctional Institution near Raleigh, North Carolina. According to the North Carolina Department of Corrections, he has a projected release date of October 22, 2018.