Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth was released from prison Monday after serving almost 19 years for orchestrating the murder of his pregnant girlfriend. The hit man shot Adams four times while she was driving in Charlotte in November 1999.
Carruth was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, discharging a firearm into occupied property and attempting to destroy an unborn child.
In September 2001, a Mecklenburg County jury sentenced Carruth to 18 to 24 years in prison.
Carruth - now 44 years old - told WBTV in a recent interview he's "excited" to get out of prison but nervous about how he'll be received by the public, acknowledging there is "so much hate and negativity toward me".
Carruth, 44, was released from a minimum-custody facility at Sampson Correctional Institution in Clinton, where roughly a dozen news trucks and throngs of reporters awaited the former National Football League first-round pick's release, the Charlotte Observer reports.More news: Searchers find nothing as hunt for missing girl continues
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'I still have to work. The vehicle bearing Watkins pulled up next to Adams and bullets were fired as Carruth sped away from the scene.
His son, Chancellor Lee Adams survived the shooting in his mother's womb, and turns 19 next month. I still have to live.
His lawyer, David Rudolf, told WRAL, that, "Rae was hanging out with people he should not have been hanging out with" at the time of Adams's killing.
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.
Carruth and his attorney continue to dispute that claim. "Ms. Adams should not be doing this and I want that responsibility back". "I guess, honestly, I just want to truly be forgiven". He's scheduled to be released from prison in 2046 after taking a second-degree murder plea in 2001. "And I think this opens the door". But I do want him to...see and feel the effects of what he did. He said he hoped to, "try to be the father that I should have been from day one", but made a decision to "no longer be pursuing a relationship with Chancellor and Ms. Adams".