When the choices we make in life end up with results we never wanted or intended, the best thing to do is take responsibility for the situation. When we try to think of a clever way to get out of messes we make, we often make things even worse.
But some people never seem to learn this lesson. When one athlete got himself into an undesirable situation, his attempt to dodge his responsibilities would have catastrophic consequences…
Rae Carruth was a football player who showed a lot of promise. After high school, he received an athletic scholarship to the University of Colorado where he played 4 seasons as a wide receiver for the Buffaloes. After being named a first-team All-American in his final year at school, the future looked very bright for him.
In 1997, Carruth was a first-round draft pick taken by the Carolina Panthers. The 27th overall pick, he signed a lucrative 4-year deal for $3.7 million that included a $1.3 million signing bonus. Everything was going Rae’s way…
Carruth’s had a respectable rookie season in ‘97, catching 44 passes or 545 yards and 4 touchdown passes, tied for first among rookie receivers, and was named to the all-rookie team at wide receiver. But the future wouldn’t be as promising for him.
Stumble on the Path
In the opening game of the Panther’s 1998 season, Carruth had an unfortunate accident breaking his right foot. That injury lead to an abrupt end to the ‘98 season and a lackluster start to Carruth’s 99 season, in which he only played 6 games…
Carruth had problems in his personal life as well as in his professional one. For nearly a year, Carruth had been seeing a woman named Cherica Adams, a Florida real estate agent. During the course of their relationship, Cherica had become pregnant with Carruth’s child.
I Don’t Want It
Carruth was far from pleased with Cherica’s pregnancy. He had no intention to start a family with Cherica and would have preferred if she’d chosen to have an abortion. But because Cherica intended to have her baby, Carruth faced the possibility of paying child support…
I’ve Been Through This
It wouldn’t have been Carruth’s first time dealing with child support. During his sophomore year of college, Carruth’s then-girlfriend gave birth to their son Raelondo, whom he all but ignored until she sued him for child support. He was eventually forced to pay – something he was very angry about.
This time, Carruth had no intention of going through that again. As Cherica’s pregnancy advanced and her due date came closer, he would come up with a dark plan that would ensure he’d never have to deal with Cherica or her baby ever again…
Making A Move
On November 16th, 1999 Carruth arranged for Cherica to be following behind his car in her BMW as they went somewhere together. At one point during the drive, Carruth quickly pulled to a stop as a 3rd car pulled up alongside Cherica’s blocking her in.
The back door of that 3rd car opened and out stepped a man named Van Watkins, carrying a handgun. Carruth watched in his rear view mirror as Watkins raised his weapon at Cherica and fired…
“I fired 2 shot, then 4 more shots: bam, bam, bam, bam,” Watkins would later say. “She was screaming. She was drowning in her own blood. You could hear a gurgling sound.” After Watkins finished shooting, Carruth locked eyes with him through his rear view mirror, then drove away.
Though Carruth’s hitman had riddled Cherica with bullets, she wasn’t yet dead. She managed to call 911 and tell them what had happened and who was responsible. She was rushed to the hospital where doctors tried to stabilize her condition. But they had more than one patient to consider…
Cherica had fallen into a coma at the hospital and her prospects for survival looked slim. In order to save her baby, doctors performed an emergency caesarean section. Thankfully the baby, named Chancellor Lee Adams, survived. But because he’d been deprived of oxygen for over an hour before he was born, he suffered permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy.
Too Much To Take
Unfortunately, Cherica would die from her wounds just under a month after she was shot. Carruth and his accomplices, who had already been rounded up, had their charges changed from attempted murder to murder…
Carruth’s lawyers tried to argue that Watkins had killed Cherica in a fit of rage after she “flipped him off.” The jury didn’t buy the dubious narrative and Carruth was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to 18-24 years in prison. Watkins plead guilty to murder and got 40 years and the driver of his car got 11 years.
Carruth went into prison in 2001 and began quietly serving his sentence. Then, in the beginning of 2001, he did something completely unexpected. Carruth sent a letter to Saundra Adams, Cherica’s mother and Chancellor’s grandmother, who had been caring for him since Cherica died. In the letter he said he wanted to be a good father…
I Owe Him
“Ms. Adams, it would mean everything to me to be able to know and have a relationship with my son. I owe him. I’d give anything to have the opportunity to do right by Chancellor and to play a meaningful role in his life,” Carruth wrote. “The reality is you aren’t going to be around forever.”
“At some point someone else will have to be responsible for Chancellor’s care… I would like to be … seriously considered as a viable option,” the letter said. “I want to sincerely apologize to you for the senseless act that lead to the death of your daughter Cherica and the permanent mental and physical difficulties that Chancellor has to suffer through,” he added…
Sin is Sin
But also in his letter, Carruth got philosophical about the nature of sin and seemed to minimize his wrongdoing, writing “In my lifetime, I’ve come to the realization that everyone sins. Yet, hypocritically enough, we all tend to hate those that sin differently than ourselves. The thing is, sin is sin, no matter how big or small an individual may want to perceive his/hers.”
Not Going To Happen
For obvious reasons, Saundra said that Carruth will never have custody of his son. “I don’t think [Carruth] understands the magnitude of what I go through on a day to day basis at all,” she said. She said she was grateful for his apology but added “I still see the narcissistic behavior. I still see the selfishness. He’s trying to make this all about him.”