Rae Carruth walks from prison a free man

Former Carolina Panther Rae Carruth released from prison after serving 18 years in murder plot

Former NFL wide receiver Rae Carruth has been released from prison after serving 18 years for conspiring to murder the mother of his unborn child. Cherica, who was pregnant with Carruth's son, died after hitman Van Brett Watkins - who Carruth hired - shot her four times in November 1999. He will be 19 next month.

Ex-NFL player Rae Carruth is set to walk free today after spending almost two decades in prison on charges stemming from the murder of his pregnant girlfriend.

Officials say Carruth and Adams got in separate cars after a movie date and once they got on the road, he blocked her vehicle so the gunman could have a clean shot. He and three others were charged with murder, including Watkins, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison. They agreed with the prosecution-that Carruth didn't want to pay child support and he wanted Cherica to abort the baby.

The 44-year-old Carruth will be a on a ninth-month post-release program, according to North Carolina Department of Public Safety spokesman Jerry Higgins.

Doctors were able to save the life of the child, Chancellor Lee Adams, who was delivered by emergency cesarean section.

Saundra Adams has previously said she would forgive Carruth and could even allow him to have a relationship with his son - although he will never be allowed custody.

The court at the time heard how Carruth used his auto to block Adams escape route.

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Carruth, 44, was released from a minimum-custody facility at Sampson Correctional Institution in Clinton, where roughly a dozen news trucks and throngs of reporters awaited the former National Football League first-round pick's release, the Charlotte Observer reports.

Carruth did not speak to reporters as he left prison wearing a knit cap and an unzipped jacket on a chilly morning with temperatures in the high 30s.

He then followed up months later with another letter stating he no longer wished to pursue a relationship with his son or son's grandmother. He was acquitted of the most serious charge of first-degree murder that could have resulted in the death penalty.

"If I could change anything, I'd change the whole situation", Carruth wrote in the letter, obtained by WBTV. "I want the incident to never have happened at all". In it, he apologizes for the death of Cherica Adams and Chancellor Adams' impairment.

Although Carruth wrote of wanting to raise his son, he soon changed his tune in according to the Charlotte Observer. So that's what I'd want to change.

"For all involved or invested in this ordeal, please calm down", Carruth wrote the newspaper. I want him to see that too'.

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