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Autopsy Released in Carruth Case

Updated:
Cherica Adams, girlfriend of Rae Carruth and murder victim.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The girlfriend of former NFL player Rae Carruth was shot four times in the back and died of multiple organ system failure.

The autopsy was released Tuesday, a day after Carruth's lawyer sought the document from prosecutors.

Medical examiner J. Michael Sullivan released the report almost six months after Cherica Adams was killed. Defense attorneys complained to a judge on Monday about the delay.

Lawyers for Carruth and three other men charged with murder are still waiting for prosecutors to turn over evidence.

``I'm glad it's done,'' said Carruth's attorney, David Rudolf, who did not know the autopsy report had been completed until being contacted by The Associated Press, which obtained a copy.

``There's still other discovery that's still outstanding,'' Rudolf said. ``I hope we can get that as promptly.''

Prosecutors told Judge Jerry Braswell on Monday that more than 2,000 pages of evidence had been turned over to the defense, but that they were still awaiting the autopsy report and results of forensic tests.

The judge told prosecutors and defense attorneys to return May 30 to discuss progress in the case.

Assistant district attorney Gentry Caudill said Tuesday he hoped to have additional lab reports and other remaining evidence in hand by the time attorneys meet with the judge.

``I think the case is moving along at a quite satisfactory rate,'' Caudill said.

Sullivan did not return telephone messages. An assistant in the medical examiner's office said the average turnaround time for an autopsy was four to six months.

``We have a lot of cases that we deal with,'' said Tarone Pittman, an autopsy assistant. ``We just don't pick up one and say, 'This is a high-profile case.' Everybody is a high-profile case.''

The autopsy report was dated Tuesday. Pathologists examined Adams' body Dec. 15, one day after she died at Carolinas Medical Center.

Adams, 24, was 6 1/2 months pregnant when she was shot while driving through a Charlotte neighborhood Nov. 16. Doctors delivered Carruth's son, Chancellor Lee Adams, by emergency Caesarean just after the shooting. Adams died Dec. 14.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Carruth, a former wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, and codefendants Van Brett Watkins, Michael Eugene Kennedy and Stanley Drew ``Boss'' Abraham. All four are being held without bail.

Pathologists recovered a large-caliber bullet that entered Adams' lower left back and caused extensive damage to her bowel, stomach, pancreas, liver, diaphragm and right lung. Another metal-jacketed bullet that hit a few inches lower caused muscle and tissue damage and was found near her vertebral column.

A third bullet that struck Adams in the left side of her back and traveled diagonally upward toward her right shoulder blade also was recovered.

The fourth bullet grazed Adams' left shoulder and caused a shallow penetrating wound to her neck.

Because of Adams' prolonged hospital stay, no toxicologic analysis of blood samples was done.
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