Rae Carruth offered new details, via his lawyer, of where he was night of girlfriend's murder

Rae Carruth sits at the defense table during his 2001 murder trial. (AP)

Many years after the fact, with Rae Carruth close to being released from prison, Carruth’s lawyer told the Charlotte Observer’s Scott Fowler that Carruth offered him new details for where he was the night his pregnant girlfriend was shot and killed.

Whereas Carruth’s lawyer said during the murder trial that the former Carolina Panthers receiver wasn’t near the shooting of Cherica Adams the night it happened in 1999, the same lawyer told the Observer’s Fowler that Carruth recently told him he was driving in a separate car ahead of Adams. When another car drove up alongside Adams’ car, Carruth took off, his lawyer David Rudolf said. Adams was shot and killed by Van Brett Watkins, who was in that car that drove up alongside Adams. 

Rudolf said Carruth still maintains that Watkins shot Adams because Watkins was angry over Carruth backing out of an agreement to finance a drug deal. But now Carruth admits he was driving in a car ahead of Adams that night when another car drove up alongside Adams and shot her four times. 

Rae Carruth’s lawyer provides new details

The details might not matter. It is odd that there are new details being presented by Carruth, through his lawyer. Tiffany Trice, a family friend of Carruth who holds his power of attorney, confirmed to Fowler that “Anything that Dave Rudolf has to say, I’m sure that Rae definitely has discussed with him in detail.” Rudolf said Carruth authorized him talking to the Observer. Carruth has declined many interview requests from the Observer, Fowler wrote. According to the Observer, Carruth is eligible to be released Oct. 22 after serving almost 19 years for conspiracy to commit murder.

Rudolf said Carruth told him he was in the car in front of Adams when she was shot. 

“He was scared, and he took off,” Rudolf told Fowler. “And he’s not particularly proud of that. It’s not sort of a heroic thing to do — big football player, you know, running. But that’s what he did.”

Adams said on a 911 call that Carruth had been driving in front of her, though Rudolf said during the trial that Carruth “wasn’t there, so he can’t say what happened.” 

Adams said in the 911 call, according to the Observer: “He was in the car in front of me and he slowed down and somebody pulled up beside me and did this.”

Rudolf told Fowler recently that Carruth took off because “he was afraid that Van Brett Watkins was coming to get him.” 

“Instead, Van Brett Watkins shoots Cherica,” Rudolf told the Observer. “And then Rae suddenly finds himself in situation where he’s been there; he left. And what’s he going to do? And so he sort of panicked.”

Cherica Adams’ mother doesn’t believe Carruth’s story

Watkins said in the trial that Carruth hired him to kill Adams because Carruth didn’t want to pay child support for the unborn child. The Observer wrote that Carruth maintains Adams was angry because Carruth originally agreed to finance a drug deal and then backed out, and for that he accepts culpability according to Rudolf’s interview with Fowler.

“He said he feels responsible,” Rudolf told Fowler. “Because if he hadn’t agreed to do that, Cherica would still be alive. So in that sense, he is responsible. It’s just … not a murder case. It’s morally responsible.”

The Carruth case is one of the NFL’s darkest moments. Carruth was a first-round pick of the Panthers in 1997 and spent three seasons with the team. His being found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder of his girlfriend was one of the league’s worst scandals.

The fact that Carruth is providing new details on what happened 19 years ago, a little more than a month before his release, is strange. Fowler talked to Saundra Adams, Cherica’s mother, and she said she didn’t believe what Carruth had to say.

“I don’t believe that,” Adams told Fowler. “I think it’s another excuse not to be accountable. But none of it is bringing Cherica back.”

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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