Gigionthat.com has learned, former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth, who in 2001 was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder of his pregnant girlfriend, was released just after 8 a.m. ET on Monday from the Sampson Correctional Institution in Clinton, North Carolina.
Carruth, 44, masterminded a plot to kill Cherica Adams during a November 1999 shooting. Adams died about a month later.
Carruth did not speak to reporters on as he left the prison wearing a knit cap and an unzipped jacket on a chilly morning with temperatures in the high 30s. There was a smattering of applause as Carruth got into a white SUV and was whisked away from the prison.
He will be a on a ninth-month post-release program, according to North Carolina Department of Public Safety spokesman Jerry Higgins. He would need special permission from a case officer to leave the state or the country during that span, but is free to go wherever he pleases after nine months.
Carolina’s first pick of the 1997 draft (No. 27 overall) was the first active NFL player at the time to be charged and convicted with such a crime.
Adams was shot four times by Van Brett Watkins, who was hired by Carruth. Watkins was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years.
Carruth, who stopped his vehicle in front of Adams as the two returned from a movie so Watkins could pull alongside in another vehicle to kill Adams, was sentenced to 18 to 24 years.
Chancellor Lee Adams, Carruth’s son, is now 18 years old. Chancellor Lee survived the shooting in his mother’s womb, but a loss of blood and oxygen the night of his birth caused permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy. Saundra Adams, Cherica’s mother, has raised her grandson since his birth.