Former Carolina Panther Rae Carruth Released From Prison

CLINTON, N.C. – After nearly 19 years behind bars, Rae Carruth emerged from Sampson Correctional Institution on Monday morning.

As he approached the prison gate, Carruth stopped to share hugs and handshakes with two fellow inmates.

Then he walked toward a white SUV waiting for him.

A woman handed him a manila envelope, sharing a few words with Carruth before he climbed inside.

You could hear the tires squeal as Carruth’s driver sped on to the road heading toward Highway 701.

Carruth’s mother tells WCCB Charlotte the ex-Carolina Panther plans to move back to California.

He’s originally from Sacramento.

A jury found Carruth guilty in 2001 of hiring a hit man to kill his girlfriend Cherica Adams in November 1999.

She was eight months pregnant with his son.

The hit man, Van Brett Watkins shot Cherica four times.

She died weeks later.

The child, Chancellor, survived but has cerebral palsy and brain damage.

Carruth spent the past year and a half at Sampson Correctional Institution, a minimum security prison in Clinton, about 40 minutes from Fayetteville.

Inmates there take vocational classes as the prepare for release.

Carruth is said to have trained as a prison barber.

The Department of Public Safety says Carruth will report to a probation officer for nine months.