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Former Carolina Panther Carruth Not Guilty of Murder, Guilty of Conspiracy to Commit MurderAired January 19, 2001 - 4:14 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to move now to Charlotte, North Carolina. One of the other breaking stories of this hour, the murder trial of Rae Carruth; the former Carolina Panthers wide receiver who had been on trial for involvement in the murder of his former girlfriend back in 1999.
CNN's Nick Charles has been at that trial covering that, and he joins us with more news on the verdict -- Nick.
NICK CHARLES, CNN/SI CORRESPONDENT: Well, after more than 19 hours of deliberation over the course of four days, Joie, a jury of seven men and five women here in Charlotte, North Carolina found Rae Carruth guilty of three of the four charges against him. But they spared him his life in returning a not guilty verdict to first degree murder.
Here's what happened. Shortly after 3:00 Eastern time, it was as if an alarm bell went off in the courtroom here as deputy sheriffs began to assemble the attorneys for both side. The courtroom was packed again. People had been nonchalantly sitting around waiting to see if this -- what sounded almost to be a hopeless impasse among jurors -- we wanted to see if this deadlock could be broken.
Rae Carruth was brought in once again from his holding cell, as deputy sheriffs assembled everybody. Then Judge Charles Lamm revealed what this totally silent courtroom was waiting in anxiety to hear; the verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE CHARLES LAMM, JACKSON COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: We, the jury, return the unanimous verdict as follows: That the defendant, Rae Lamar Carruth, is guilty of discharging a firearm into occupied property; guilty of using an instrument with intent to destroy an unborn child; guilty of conspiracy to commit murder of Cherica Adams, but not guilty of the first degree murder of Cherica Adams.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES: Well, the emotion that followed split this courtroom cleanly in half. There were the victim's family. They praised God. They hugged the prosecutors. They seemed satisfied with the verdict. On the other side, Rae Carruth stood in stone silence, his family behind him in almost a state of shock. There certainly was no congratulations going around, but the mother of Rae Carruth, who kept a constant vigil here, of course, daily, knows that her son's life will be spared.
Let me go into these charges here. In terms of the four charges, firing into an occupied vehicle carries a term of 15 to 47 months in prison; attempting to destroy an unborn child, three to 10 months behind bar and conspiracy to commit first degree murder, 94 months to 245 months for somebody with no prior record, and that was the case for Rae Carruth.
So, Rae Carruth comes away here knowing his life has been spared, but he faces eight to 20 years behind bars. Sentencing will occur here in Charlotte, North Carolina next week.
Now back to you, Joie.
CHEN: All right, CNN's Nick Charles reporting to us from Charlotte, North Carolina.
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