Originally created 02/10/00

Carruth's lawyers say money no motive in shooting



CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rae Carruth is worth nearly $480,000 and would have had no financial motive in the killing of his pregnant girlfriend, his lawyer said.

The victim's mother, Saundra Adams, has said Carruth's interest in Cherica Adams' pregnancy diminished after he was injured last fall. She said Carruth appeared "pressured" about money.

However, documents filed Tuesday in Mecklenburg County Superior Court show the former Carolina Panthers wide receiver had $175,000 in a checking account and a net worth of nearly $480,000 when Cherica Adams was shot.

Carruth lawyer Kenneth Spaulding said his client's financial status before November 1999 was "extremely healthy."

The financial information was filed in the child custody and support case brought against Carruth by Saundra Adams, who now has temporary custody of Adams' baby, Chancellor Adams. Carruth's lawyers said the disclosures show there could not have been a financial motive for Adams' murder.

Carruth, 25, and three others are charged with first-degree murder in the drive-by shooting of Adams. The 24-year-old woman was shot four times in her car. She soon gave birth to Chancellor, 10 weeks premature, and then died Dec. 14. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Saundra Adams wants child support from Carruth, and a judge has frozen Carruth's assets. Carruth wants to lift the freeze so he can pay for his legal defense. A hearing is scheduled Monday.

"Unless this court dissolves the temporary restraining order, Mr. Carruth will be denied counsel of his choice in a case where his very life is at stake," the motion says. "Denying Mr. Carruth access to the funds he has earned in order to hire a lawyer will inevitably result in shifting the burden of funding Mr. Carruth's defense to the state and ultimately to the taxpayers."

Carruth has offered to pay $3,000 a month to support Chancellor. He has paid the same amount to support a 5-year-old son, Rae, who lives with his mother in Sacramento, Calif.

Carruth, drafted out of the University of Colorado in the first round in 1997, signed a four-year, $3.7 million contract and received a $1.3 million signing bonus. He was earning $38,382 a game until the Panthers waived him in December.