Ex-NFL player Rae Carruth apologizes for plotting girlfriend's murder, seeks custody of son

Nearing release after serving 17 years behind bars, ex-Carolina Panther Rae Carruth wants to establish relationship with son of murdered girlfriend.

Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth, who's been in prison since 2001 for plotting to kill his pregnant girlfriend, has issued an apology for the crime.

In a letter addressed to the mother of victim Cherica Adams and sent to a Charlotte television station, Carruth expressed remorse and a desire to establish a relationship with the son Adams delivered before dying in December 1999 of complications from gunshot wounds.

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Carruth was accused of hiring a gunman to kill Adams, who was seven months pregnant at the time of the shooting, in order to avoid paying child support.

In the 15-page letter to Adams' mother, Carruth made his first public statement about the incident.

"I'm apologizing for the loss of her daughter. I'm apologizing for the impairment of my son," Carruth said in an interview with WBTV in Charlotte that was arranged by a family friend. "I feel responsible for everything that happened. And I just want her to know that truly I am sorry for everything."

Chancellor Lee Adams, now 18, was born prematurely and suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of the trauma his mother suffered after the shooting. He lives with his grandmother, Saundra Adams, who has raised him since birth.

However, Carruth is scheduled to be released from Sampson Correctional Institution in Clinton, N.C., on Oct. 22. And in the letter, he said he wants custody of his son once he's free.

"I should be raising my son. His mother should be raising her son," Carruth said. "Ms. Adams should not be doing this and I want that responsibility back.

"I feel like he might not ever have his mother in his life but he could still have me and I could still make a difference and I don't think that's anyone's responsibility when I'm still here."

Meanwhile, Adams told the Charlotte Observer on Monday she would fight to retain custody.

"I've forgiven Rae already, but to have any type of relationship with him, there does have to be some repentance," Adams told the newspaper. "And I think this opens the door. But I can say definitively he's not ever going to have custody of Chancellor ... He will never be raised by a stranger -- someone he doesn't know and who tried to kill him."

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Carruth was a first round draft pick of the Panthers in 1997 from the University of Colorado. He played three seasons in the NFL, starting 14 games as a rookie in 1997 when he caught 44 passes for 545 yards and four touchdowns.

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