SAMPSON COUNTY, N.C. — Former Carolina Panthers player Rae Carruth walked out of prison a free man Monday after nearly 19 years behind bars.
He was released from Sampson Correctional Facility in Clinton, North Carolina around 8 a.m.
In 1999, Carruth was charged with planning the murder of his pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams.
Adams was shot four times by Van Brett Watkins.
Doctors managed to save their son, Chancellor Lee, but the trauma Adams suffered before she died left the child with cerebral palsy.
The former Panthers first-round draft pick was sentenced to 18-to-24 years in prison after he was convicted in January 2001 for conspiracy to commit murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle and using an instrument to destroy an unborn child. He was found not guilty of first-degree murder.
It is unclear whether Carruth will return to Charlotte. He has three months to come up with a plan and provide it to the Department of Public Safety as a condition for his release.
When he left prison, he had a copy of his release papers, his Social Security card, birth certificate, community resources information and a pharmacy discount card.
Carruth also has certificates for the programs he completed while locked up, including a registered examiners' card from the North Carolina Board of Barbers and a barber's certificate from Central Carolina Community College.
Despite his high-profile case, officials said Carruth won’t receive any special privileges and will be treated like any other released inmate.
Cox Media Group