Carruth Lawyer: Statement Not True

Monday, October 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A statement that Rae Carruth disliked his pregnant girlfriend so much he wished her dead was false and its release was aimed at influencing the jury in Carruth's murder trial, his lawyer said Monday.

An ex-girlfriend of Carruth told police the former Carolina Panthers player so strongly disliked Cherica Adams that he wished for her death, The Charlotte Observer and CNN/Sports Illustrated reported.

Candace Smith also told police in June that the former Carolina Panthers player confided he had seen Adams shot and left the scene worrying that he would be implicated.

David Rudolf, Carruth's lawyer, said as he entered the courthouse Monday for a second week of jury selection that he doubted the woman's story.

``If she comes into court and testifies to that under oath, she's lying,'' Rudolf said. ``That's if she shows up.''

The lawyer also said the timing of the release of the police report was suspect

``Anyone who would look at it would be concerned about it,'' he said. ``It's an attempt to influence the rest of the jury pool.''

Smith also said Carruth told her in earlier conversations he should have someone ``beat her up or kick her in the stomach and make her have a miscarriage.''

The Observer reported that it had obtained a copy of the 32-page transcript of Smith's interview with police. CNN/SI did not divulge the source on which it based its report.

Carruth and three other men have been charged with plotting Adams' murder. Prosecutors have accused Carruth of masterminding the slaying because he didn't want to pay child support.

Carruth, who could face the death penalty if convicted, maintains his innocence.

Smith is expected to testify in Carruth's capital murder trial.

Lead prosecutor Gentry Caudill said he would not comment on the story, the content of the transcript or the effect it might have on the trial.

Rudolf told the newspaper that Smith's account differs from the first statement she gave to police in November.

According to the published reports, Smith joined Carruth at Carolinas Medical Center just after the drive-by shooting as doctors struggled to keep Adams and her baby alive. Adams, 24, died a month later, but doctors saved the baby.

Smith said she spoke to Carruth after a police officer finished talking to him at the hospital. She quoted Carruth as saying: ``I was in front of her and I slowed down and hit the brakes just enough for her to slow her car down, and that's when I saw the dudes come up and fire into her car.''

Smith said she asked Carruth what he did after he witnessed the shooting.

``He was like, I just drove off,'' Smith said.

Defense lawyers have said Carruth supported Adams financially during her pregnancy and attended medical appointments and a childbirth class with her.