Sources: Lane Not Abusive When Shot

Wednesday, July 12th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Editor's Note: The following report is from KOTV's sister station WCNC Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, N.C. -- The details surrounding the death of Fred Lane continue to unfold.

Sources say that Fred Lane was gunned down just seconds after he got home.

6NEWS has also learned more about the events of that day that led up to that moment.

Fred Lane flew into Charlotte-Douglas International Airport for the purpose of selling his motorcycle, according to his father.

Deidra Lane's brother picked him up at the airport, and the two went out on the town for awhile.

Sources say that his brother-in-law took Lane to his house around 3 p.m. Deidra's brother did not stick around - he immediately drove off.

A few seconds later, Lane unlocked the deadbolt to his home and walked in carrying his bags. Sources say that Lane did not get a chance to remove the key from the lock before he was shot in the chest.

Sources believe that Deidra Lane then stood over her husband who was lying on the floor. At this point Lane might already have been dead.

After putting another shell in the chamber, sources say that Deidra Lane fired another blast from the shotgun striking her husband in the back of the head at near point-blank range.

Mrs. Lane told police that she had been abused that day, but sources say that there is no physical evidence to support her allegations. And they know that Lane never had a chance to touch his wife. Police say the couple did have a history of domestic violence.

Two of Lane's former Carolina Panther teammates were highly upset by allegations that Fred Lane abused his wife.

Musin Muhammad and William Floyd went to the police department Wednesday to give investigators a detailed statement about Deidra Lane's behavior.

They said that Lane was one of the kindest guys you would ever want to meet. They feel Lane's reputation has taken a beating. They say that he never touched his wife and was not a violent person.

In an emotional farewell Tuesday at the funeral of his friend and former teammate, Floyd said he believed there will be retribution for Lane's death.

"I believe in my heart that justice will be served. The Lord said 'Vengeance is mine,"' Floyd said before being overcome and having to stop his tribute.

An estimated 1,800 people praised and bid good-bye to the talented running back during funeral services that lasted almost three hours.

Lane, 24, beat the odds by rising from tiny Lane College in Jackson to become the Carolina Panthers' career rushing leader before being traded this spring to Indianapolis.

Police said Deidra Lane fatally shot her husband Thursday in Charlotte, ending a troubled relationship that was complicated by the birth of their first child two weeks ago.

No charges have been filed against Deidra Lane, who was questioned and released by police.

She did not attend visitation Monday at a funeral home in Charlotte and she wasn't at Tuesday's funeral.

Before the service began, a line stretched from Lane's coffin down the aisles of The People's Church and out the door as hundreds of family and friends paid their last respects.

Following the funeral, Lane was to be buried in Franklin, his hometown 18 miles south of Nashville.

An hour before the funeral, mourners were allowed to view the open coffin, which was surrounded by flowers, Lane's Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers jerseys and photos from his NFL days.

A banner reading, "The Lane Family Is Proud Of You Fred Jr.", shared the stage with a large video screen projecting a verse from Psalm 23: "He makes me lie down in green pastures."

Lane's parents, Fred Lane Sr. and Mary Lane, also addressed the mourners.

"If you didn't know my son you missed him. If you knew him you loved him. And if you didn't love him you didn't know him," Fred Lane Sr. said.

The father recalled his son's smile and how he endured wearing braces on his teeth for six years.

"Daddy, when I'm on TV I've gotta look good," the father recalled his son saying.

Mary Lane read a poem she had written entitled "A Mother's Love" which she had written for the son she called "Poo."

It closes by saying: "Poo, you are not lost, and you will always be in my heart, mom."

Deidra Lane released a statement through her attorney Sunday in which she said she loved her husband and shares his family's grief over his death.

"I truly loved and will continue to love my husband. I am devastated that our relationship ended so tragically. On behalf of myself, my children, my parents and immediate family, I must say that the tragedy that we have suffered in losing my husband, Fred Lane, Jr., has been shocking and staggering.

We know that it has taken a great toll and brought unbearable suffering and grief to Fred's parents and family, as well. Our hearts and out prayers go out to them. The particular circumstance of Fred's death makes the grief that both families bear not just unspeakable, but unfathomable. As I have already expressed to Fred's father, I am deeply sorry for their suffering and our suffering."

Deidra's statement only hinted at marital problems.

"Fred Lane Jr. was a person with unique gifts. At his best, Fred could be very good. At his worst, Fred was very different. I choose to remember Fred at his best. I want to help all of our children to remember Fred at his best. I hope and pray that our children will learn to cherish his name for when he was at his best."

About 500 mourners, including some of Lane's former Panthers teammates, attended Monday's visitation.

"He was a lot of fun," said Tony Wise, Panthers offensive line coach. "He and I used to rib each other a lot in practice. He just had a great attitude."

The majority of the mourners were football fans, including one young man who came to the visitation wearing Lane's old No. 32 Panthers jersey.

"Football fans just loved him," said Walter Truesdale, who called himself a fan and a friend of Lane. "He was an all-around great guy with the million dollar smile."

Lane is survived by his infant daughter, parents and two other daughters, a 3-year-old in Nashville and a 6-month-old in Jackson.

Friends say they are not happy with the circumstances that surround Lane's death and they would like a better explanation why he was shot to death.

Some are blaming Lane. Others are blaming his wife, Deidra, who has not been seen since the shooting.

"To shoot somebody two times and not even go to the hospital. I mean what did he do to deserve that..." said Michael Willoughby, Lane's friend.

Some teammates reportedly want to tell police that Fred Lane was abused too.

The attorney for Deidra Lane has said that the truth will come out soon.

"There were injuries, " said attorney Henderson Hall. "The extent of the injuries and the treatment for the injuries -- all of that will come out later."

Former Carolina Panther Head Coach Dom Capers attended the visitation and says Lane was a happy, upbeat, hard working young man.

Panthers defensive lineman Chuck Wiley told reporters he was sad to lose a friend and a teammate. He said he knew nothing about any problems in the Lane marriage.

"That's none of my business," he said.

Offensive tackle Clarence Jones said the 24-year-old Lane's death was a tragic loss.

"This kid had a chance to do something special," he said outside the church. "I'm disappointed he won't ever get the chance."

Three of Lane's former teammates on the Panthers have said they will meet with investigators to relay what they claim was reckless behavior by Deidra Lane, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Sunday.

Police expect to wrap up their investigation into the death of Fred Lane in a few days. The district attorney will then decide if Deidra Lane will be charged in the shooting, or if she acted in self defense.

The law firm representing Deidra Lane is the same one representing the family of Cherica Adams, girlfriend of Carolina Panther Rae Carruth.

Homicide investigators say that Deidra shot her husband, but that no charges have been filed. The case will be turned over to the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office to determine if charges will be filed.

Neighbors say Lane and his wife just had a baby girl and a wooden stork announcing the birth is still in the front yard of the home.

The Colts released a statement that said the team was "shocked and saddened" by news of Lane's death. The Panthers released a similar statement.

"He was a member of our team for three years and had so much of his life and football career ahead of him," Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with his family."

Neighbors who do not want to be identified say there was constant turmoil between the couple and they constantly argued. They say some of those arguments did turn violent.

Lane's father, Fred Lane Sr., said his son and daughter-in-law had been having difficulties recently. Lane Jr. had spent the past couple of weeks at the family home in Nashville, Tenn., but visited Charlotte briefly a week ago, his father said.

He had left Tennessee on a flight to Charlotte about two hours before he was shot, the elder Lane said.

"Everything was going great," in his son's life, Lane Sr. said.

Mrs. Lane filed a domestic complaint against her husband in March, saying her husband snatched a necklace from around her neck during an argument, causing her to fall. She did not press charges.

Lane also had a case pending against him related to his Feb. 3 arrest in Tennessee. A grand jury in Jackson, Tenn., indicted him Monday on the misdemeanor drug charges, but prosecutors dropped weapons charges against him, saying there wasn't enough evidence to support it.