CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Former Carolina Panthers player Rae Carruth, who hired a hitman to kill his pregnant girlfriend in 1999, is set to be released from prison on Monday.
Cherica Adams was eight months pregnant with their son when she was shot in a drive-by shooting on Rea Road.
Frank Garcia, now a sports broadcaster with WFNZ Radio, played for the Panthers with Carruth when he was arrested.
"I don't know if you think of anybody that's working next to you or that you speak to everyday is capable of doing something like that," Garcia told FOX 46.
He remembers what is was like for the team and the city when news of Carruth's arrest broke.
"It's almost like the players didn't want to come out because we were embarrassed and the city may have been a little embarrassed of the Panthers as well."
The former Panther described Carruth as a quite guy who always kept to himself. Despite his quite nature, Garcia said that his former teammate was involved in the community.
"You could tell that he loved kids. He was always doing something in the community."
After almost 19 years in prison, Carruth will soon be a free man.
"He's going to be out in public. I don't know if you've ever sat next to a convicted killer or an accessory, I don't know how I would react to that, it would be a little nerve racking to say the least I'm guessing."
Carruth and his lawyer maintain to this day it was a drug deal gone bad. Carruth backed out, and the suspects came after Cherica for retribution.
The jury didn’t buy that. They agreed with the prosecution—that Carruth didn’t want to pay child support and he wanted Cherica to abort the baby.
That baby, Chancellor Lee Adams, is now almost 19-years-old. He suffered severe brain damage when Cherica was shot and has cerebral palsy.
Chancellor’s grandma, Cherica’s mom Saundra Adams, is raising him. She calls him her “miracle child.”