Fbi Agents Find Carruth In Trunk Of Car Receiver Held In Tenn. Jail After Fleeing

Posted: December 16, 1999

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Rae Carruth was arrested last night in western Tennessee, where police found him hiding in the trunk of a friend's car a day after he failed to surrender on a murder charge in the shooting death of his girlfriend.

Authorities said they had received tips that the Carolina Panthers wide receiver could be found at a Best Western motel in Wildersville, Tenn., about 100 miles northeast of Memphis, the FBI said.

FBI agents staked out the motel yesterday afternoon. They checked the room, then found the 5-11, 194-pound player in the trunk of a Toyota parked in the motel's lot, agents said.

The car belongs to a woman friend who had registered at the motel and accompanied Carruth from Charlotte, about 8 to 10 hours away. The unidentified woman had not been charged as of last night, FBI spokeswoman Joanne Morley said.

"He was cooperative during the course of the arrest and processing," said Victor O'Korn, FBI assistant special agent in charge in Charlotte.

Carruth was being held in the Madison County, Tenn., jail last night on a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. An extradition hearing before a federal magistrate was planned for this morning.

Carruth was charged with first-degree murder following the death Tuesday of 24-year-old Cherica Adams, who was 61/2 months' pregnant when she was shot four times Nov. 16 in her car. The shooting forced doctors to perform an emergency delivery.

If convicted, Carruth could be sentenced to death or life in prison.

Charlotte police declared Carruth a fugitive early yesterday and alerted law enforcement agencies nationally to be on the lookout for the Panthers' 1997 first-round pick.

Ronnie DeLapp, who posted 8 percent of Carruth's bond, said he provided the FBI with all of the information the agency needed to locate Carruth during a meeting yesterday afternoon.

Adams was shot in the neck and chest from a passing vehicle as she drove through a Charlotte neighborhood.

Carruth was in a car near the shooting, and the three other men were in a separate vehicle, talking by cell phone, prosecutors said.

The condition of the baby, Chancellor Lee Adams, has improved since the shooting. He was moved out of a neonatal intensive care nursery earlier this month.

According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he is the first active NFL player to face a murder charge.

Carruth and the other men originally were charged with conspiracy, attempted murder and related charges. Carruth was free on $3 million bond when Adams died and was not allowed to leave Mecklenburg County in North Carolina.

Michael Eugene Kennedy, 24; Stanley Drew "Boss" Abraham, 19; and William Edward Watkins, 44; were charged with first-degree murder yesterday and were being held without bail. They were to make their first court appearances on the murder charge today.

Carruth's mother, Theodry Carruth, had gone on national television yesterday morning to say her son would turn himself in to authorities when he was ready. She said she had spoken to him by telephone Tuesday.

Investigators did not know if she knew his whereabouts at the time, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police deputy chief Larry Snider said.

"It's quite obvious the information the mother was supplying was incorrect. He didn't turn himself in and he was found hundreds of miles away from Charlotte," Snider said.

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