CHARLOTTE -- Rae Carruth should not have to sell his home and other possessions to pay child support for his 5-month-old son, the attorney for the former NFL player told a judge on Thursday.
The attorney, Bill Diehl, asked the judge to dismiss an order that allowed a receiver to sell the home and other assets. He told Judge Yvonne Mims Evans that Carruth did not understand the consequences when he agreed in February to the naming of a Charlotte lawyer as his receiver.
"Let's not liquidate everything he's got," said Diehl, who estimated Carruth's net worth at less than $250,000.
The former Carolina Panthers wide receiver and three codefendants are charged with first-degree murder for the drive-by shooting of the pregnant Cherica Adams, 24, on Nov. 16 in Charlotte. Doctors delivered the baby, fathered by Carruth and named Chancellor, by emergency Caesarean section. Adams died a month later.
During the hearing, Diehl argued that Carruth was advised by his former attorneys, Kenneth Spaulding and Tamela Wallace, to sign the receivership agreement without telling him enough about it.
Carruth fired Spaulding on Feb. 15, one day after he and Wallace agreed to the appointment of Charlotte lawyer Elizabeth Hodges as the receiver. Spaulding and Wallace maintained that Carruth signed papers showing he understood the arrangement.
Wallace testified Thursday that she explained the order at least three times before it came up during a hearing Feb. 14.
"I remember him saying it was just money and that he didn't really care about money," she said.
Wallace also testified that Carruth never fired her, yet she did not consider herself to be his attorney any more.
In requesting an independent overseer, lawyers for Adams' family said Carruth spent more than $260,000 in cash between the shooting Nov. 16 and Feb. 8. They contended a receiver was needed to ensure he fully disclosed his assets in the child-support case.
"The need for a receiver is even more prevalent than it was three months ago," said Frank Porter, the attorney for the infant's grandfather, Jeffrey Moonie.
After hearing arguments for four hours, Evans adjourned without ruling. She did not indicate when she will decide.
Attorneys never got to several other key issues, including a request by Carruth to visit with his infant son as he awaits trial. Evans scheduled a hearing July 31 on Carruth's visitation motion.
In court documents filed Monday, an attorney for the child's grandmother called the request "no more than a desperate attempt on his part to appear to be human and to avoid death row using the very child he has been charged with trying to destroy."
The document was filed by Billie Ellerbe for Saundra Adams, the child's maternal grandmother who has temporary custody.
The next hearing in the child-custody case is scheduled for May 16, when Evans will hear arguments on a request by the Adams' family to find Carruth in contempt of court for bouncing his last child support check.
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