Originally created 09/19/00

Wife of slain NFL player held without bail



CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The widow of NFL running back Fred Lane was held without bail Monday on bank larceny charges after court documents suggested she might have killed her husband to stop him from reporting the theft.

Dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit and leg shackles, Deidra Lane appeared before a federal magistrate at the first of two hearings Monday, this one concerning bank larceny charges.

Judge Carl Horn referred to an FBI agent's affidavit before he told a sobbing Deidra Lane that she would not get bail any time soon.

"Miss Lane is accused of killing her husband, in part, over money," he said. "Now it appears it also might have been because he tried to go to authorities with evidence in this case."

State prosecutors contend she killed her husband to collect a $5 million life insurance policy. She has denied the claim, and said in a 911 call after the shooting that her husband had choked and hit her.

"Her greed appears to be at the center of both the federal and state charges," Horn said. "I find that she must be held without bond."

Deidra Lane's lawyer, Henderson Hill, said after the hearing there is "absolutely nothing to this allegation."

"There is a circle of Fred Lane's friends and supporters who want to lash out at Deidra," he said.

Lane also was to appear in state court on a murder charge. She is accused of shooting her husband July 6 in the couple's Charlotte home. Prosecutors were expected to ask a judge to decide whether they can seek the death penalty if she's convicted of murder.

At the federal hearing, court documents were unsealed containing statements from an FBI investigator suggesting a possible motive: Lane killed her husband to keep him from telling police about her role in the 1998 theft of $41,200 from a Wachovia Bank branch.

Agent David Drew said Kisha Tennille Hudson, a friend of Fred Lane's, told homicide investigators that Fred Lane "told her that Deidra Lane, his wife, had stolen money from a bank in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"Fred Lane told Hudson that Deidra was afraid the police were after her because she went into a bank, where her friend was a teller, and came out with a bag of money," he wrote.

Horn did release Deidra Lane's co-defendant, Natosha Watson, on $50,000 unsecured bond.

According to the court documents, Deidra Lane and Watson conspired to steal $41,200 from the bank where Watson worked as a teller. The theft occurred July 1, 1998.

According to statements Watson gave to the FBI, the two hatched a plan to make it appear to be a bank robbery, right down to a bogus note that said: "Give me all you money in the second drawer, don't say anything, hurry."

In arguing against bail, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Whisler said several witnesses identified her from bank surveillance tapes. Combined with her police record, he said, Deidra Lane was a danger to the community and a risk of flight.

Hill argued that his client was no danger to anyone and had cooperated with every request from police and the courts since her arrest in the murder case.

Whisler told Horn that Deidra Lane has a criminal record dating to 1995. She was charged with attempting to rob a South Carolina credit union five years ago. She was arrested but allowed to complete a diversionary program and she was not convicted.