Sampson County, N.C. — On Monday, former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth walked out of prison a free man.
Carruth has served 18 years in the Sampson County Correction Facility for plotting to kill Cherica Adams, the mother of his child. Their child, Chancellor, survived the shooting but suffers from cerebral palsy as a result.
At 8 a.m. on Monday, multiple news outlets filmed him walking out of the prison.
In 2001, when Carruth was convicted and sentenced on charges that included conspiracy to commit murder, attorney David Rudolf was at his side.
“At the time, Rae was hanging out with people he should not have been hanging out with,” Rudolf said.
Rudolf is referring to Van Brett Watkins, the man convicted of shooting and killing Cherica Adams in November 1999. Prosecutors maintained that Carruth hired Watkins to kill Adams because he didn’t want to pay child support. Adams was seven months pregnant at the time.
Carruth and his attorney continue to dispute that claim.
“What he says is, ‘It was my fault. I wasn’t trying to get her killed, but I’m responsible for that in a moral sense,’ and he feels great remorse,” Rudolf said.
Rudolf say, in almost two decades behind bars, Carruth is a man who has come to terms with his fate.
“He’s matured. He’s a lot more introspective than he used to be, and I think he wants to get out of North Carolina,” he said.
Carruth has publicly said he wants to return to California, where his family lives. Rudolf said what he most wants for his client is for him to find peace.
“With Chancellor’s grandmother, Cherica’s mom, that there can be some sort of reconciliation of some sort,” Rudolph said. “I hope he can have a real relationship with Chancellor going forward.”
Carruth is now 43 years old and has earned a barber’s certificate while in prison. In an interview last week, he said he just wants to be forgiven.
Carruth admits he’s nervous and concerned about how he will be received by the public when he is released from prison.