N.C. Supreme Court declines to hear appeal

Updated: October 3, 2003, 12:32 AM ET
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The state Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hear the case of former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth, who was convicted in the 2001 murder conspiracy of his girlfriend.

Without comment, the state's highest court declined a request by his attorneys for the justices to hear his appeal.

In August, the state Court of Appeals declined to give Carruth a new trial although the three-judge panel determined the trial court had made a mistake in his case.

Carruth, a first-round draft pick of the Panthers in 1997, is serving a prison term of 18 years and 11 months for plotting to kill Cherica Adams in 1999.

Carruth was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle and using a gun to try to kill the baby Adams was carrying. He was acquitted of a murder charge that could have brought the death penalty.

Adams was eight months pregnant with Carruth's child when she was shot while driving. She died a month later. The baby survived.

The Court of Appeals, the state's second highest court, ruled that a trial judge shouldn't have allowed handwritten notes from Adams to be admitted into court, but that the notes did not prejudice the jury because of the overwhelming evidence against Carruth.

Because the decision by the Court of Appeals was unanimous, there was no automatic right to appeal, prompting the Sept. 9 request by Carruth's attorney for a discretionary review by the Supreme Court.

Carruth's attorney, Gordon Widenhouse of Chapel Hill, didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment Thursday night.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press