Cherica Adams was 7 months pregnant with #CarolinaPanthers receiver Rae Carruth’s son when she was murdered by a hitman, Van Brett Watkins. Carruth was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle and using an instrument to destroy an unborn child and was sentenced to 18-24 years. But now 19 years later, Carruth is set to be released from Sampson Correctional Facility in Clinton, North Carolina on Monday.
On November 16, 1999, pregnant Cherica was driving her BMW in Charlotte after a movie date with Carruth to see #TheBoneCollector. The two drove in separate vehicles with Carruth tailing behind her. When he suddenly turned off the side of the road, Adams followed suit but was met by a third vehicle, now known to be the hitman. Watkins pulled up alongside her car and opened fire, hitting Adams 4 times. She died a month later due to complications and severe damage to vital organs from the shooting.
Following the shooting, Carruth fled and was arrested when #FBI agents found him hiding in the trunk of a car in the parking lot of a Best Western hotel. He and three others were charged with murder, including Watkins, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Carruth’s efforts to kill both his child’s mother and his child to avoid child support were not all successful. His son, Chancellor Lee Adams, survived the shooting but lives with cerebral palsy due to oxygen deprivation following the shooting. He will be 19 next month.
Cherica Adam’s mother, Saundra Adams, has been taking care of Chancellor since birth and has said she forgives Carruth for what he did but has never forgotten. “I am still feeling forgiving,” Saundra said. “And I want still for him to meet his son. But I do want him to…see and feel the effects of what he did. Because that’s what I’ve been looking at every day since Nov. 16, 1999. And seeing the grief, seeing the hurt, the disappointment, seeing my dreams just slashed. I want him to see that too.”
According to WBTV, Carruth stated that he had let his son down “as he came into this world and the only way that I can make that right and the only way I can reconcile my relationship with my son is to be there for him.” At one point, Saundra indicated that she planned to wait with Chancellor at the prison when Carruth was released and was willing to consider having him be part of their lives. Carruth penned an open letter stating he hoped to “openly confront and debunk the lies that Ms. Adams continues to tell about me, knowing full well that in doing so it will only add to the public ire against me.”
He then followed up months later with another letter stating he no longer wished to pursue a relationship with his son or son’s grandmother. He said he hoped to, “try to be the father that I should have been from day one,” but decided to “no longer be pursuing a relationship with Chancellor and Ms. Adams. I promise to leave them be, which I now see is in everyone’s best interest.”
Theodry Swift, mother of #RaeCarruth made a statement saying, “In order to be forgiven you have to accept responsibility so with him those were his words – ‘I take responsibility’ and when you look at that it takes a hell of a man to do that.” In regards to Cherica’s death, Swift said, “I stay away from that. I really do. We can talk about how this has affected my life and my family and what it’s been like to go through the 19 years. I’m just going to be honest with you. That’s an area I try to stay away from.”