Former Carolina Panthers player Rae Carruth was accused of sending hit men to kill his pregnant girlfriend in 1999. The three-month-long trial that ended Jan. 22, 2001, would become one of the most infamous in Charlotte’s history.

Prosecutors said Carruth hired an accomplice, Van Brett Watkins, and two others to kill Cherica Adams. Prosecutors said Carruth’s motive was that he didn’t want the child or to have to pay child support. However, the defense claimed the murder was a botched drug deal in which Cherica got caught in the crossfire.

A 911 call from Cherica after she was shot placed Carruth at the scene.

Rae Carruth

Prosecutors pointed out Cherica scrawled notes to detectives implicating Carruth while she was in the hospital before she slipped into a coma.

In a unanimous verdict, Carruth was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, discharging firearm into an occupied vehicle and using an instrument with intent to destroy an unborn child. He was found not guilty of first-degree murder, the most severe charge.

The shooter, Van Brett Watkins, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for testimony against Carruth. He was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years.

Van Brett Watkins

The driver, Michael Kennedy, took the stand for the prosecution.

Michael Kennedy

Co-defendant Stanley Abraham did not take the stand.

Carruth did not take the stand in his own defense.