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Rae Carruth released from prison after 18 years

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  • By Associated Press
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Former NFL wide receiver Rae Carruth was released from prison Monday after serving more than 18 years for conspiring to murder the mother of his unborn child.

The Carolina Panthers' 1997 first-round draft pick was released from Sampson Correctional Institution in Clinton, North Carolina, after completing his sentence of 18 to 24 years.

Carruth did not speak to reporters on as he left the prison wearing a knit cap and an unzipped jacket on a chilly morning with temperatures in the high 30s. There was a smattering of applause as Carruth got into a white SUV and was whisked away from the prison.

Carruth, now 44, was found guilty of orchestrating a plot to kill Cherica Adams on Nov. 16, 1999, in Charlotte, North Carolina, to avoid paying child support. Adams was shot four times while driving her car, but managed to make a 911 call that helped implicate Carruth.

Adams fell into a coma and died less than a month later after the shooting.

The child she was carrying, Chancellor Lee Adams, was delivered by emergency cesarean section but suffers from permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy.

Last week, he told WSOC-TV in Charlotte in a telephone interview, "I just truly want to be forgiven."

Carruth went on to say he was "somewhat frightened" about his release, adding that, "I'm nervous just about how I'll be received by the public. I still have to work. I still have to live. I have to exist out there and it just seems like there is so much hate and negativity toward me."

Carruth has repeatedly said he wants to have a relationship with his son, who remains in the custody of his grandmother, Saundra Adams, who has raised him since birth. Adams had previously said she would be there when Carruth got out of prison, but she was not present on Monday.

Carruth's arrest on charges of conspiracy and attempted murder nine days after the shooting sent shockwaves throughout the Panthers organization.

The team released Carruth and the NFL suspended him indefinitely after he fled the Charlotte area after posting $3 million bail and was found by federal authorities hiding in the trunk of a car in Tennessee, about 500 miles from Charlotte.

Carruth will be a on a ninth-month post-release program, according to North Carolina Department of Public Safety spokesman Jerry Higgins. He would need special permission from a case officer to leave the state or the country during that span, but is free to go wherever he pleases after nine months.

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