Widow of Lane released from prison

Updated: March 3, 2009, 12:50 PM ET
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The widow of slain Carolina Panthers running back Fred Lane walked out of prison Tuesday after serving nearly six years for his shotgun death.

Deidra Lane, 33, was released from the Raleigh Correctional Center for Women on the city's south side at 9:25 a.m. and walked out the front door into a BMW, where relatives waited to take her home. She did not stop to speak to reporters.

A message left for Fred Lane Sr., Fred Lane's father, was not immediately returned.

Deidra Lane pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in 2003, three years after her estranged husband was found fatally shot inside their home. Fred Lane played for the Panthers for three years and had been traded to the Indianapolis Colts before his death.

Prosecutors at her sentencing described Deidra Lane as an abusive woman who killed her husband for insurance money. Defense attorneys called her a battered wife who killed in self defense.

A judge sentenced Deidra Lane to seven years and 11 months, ruling her actions were premeditated and deliberate, that she acted with malice and shot him a second time after he'd already been rendered helpless. She received credit for jail time served waiting on a federal charge of conspiracy to commit bank larceny. She pleaded guilty and served four months for that charge.

The Lanes had been having difficulties before the shooting. In March 2000, Deidra Lane filed a domestic complaint saying her husband had snatched a necklace from around her neck, causing her to fall. She never pressed charges. Fred Lane also had spent several weeks in late June and early July of that year staying with his family in Nashville.

Authorities said Deidra Lane waited for her husband on July 6 as he returned from his family home. They said she shot him once as he walked through the door, then walked through his blood and shot him a second time in the back of the head.

Police found him dead inside the front door of the couple's Charlotte home. His keys were still in the door.

"He just got shot because he wouldn't leave me alone," a sobbing and screaming Lane told a 911 operator the day of the shooting. "I kept telling him to stop."

Fred Lane, 24, was a running back for the Panthers from 1997 to 2000. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Lane is the Panthers' fifth-leading all-time rusher, finishing with 2,001 yards before his April 2000 trade.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press