With training camps less than a month away, it’s time to check in with our heroes off the field.
Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth will have to wait until next year to stand trial on charges that he plotted to murder his pregnant girlfriend. Prosecutors in Charlotte, N.C., say the earliest they can go to trial is February. Carruth had requested a November trial.
“My client is sitting in jail and he’s innocent and he wants to get on with his life,” David Rudolf, Carruth’s lawyer, said Wednesday. Rudolf noted that Carruth, as a professional football player, is being hurt by any delay that would keep him away from the game — that is, if he’s acquitted and can return to the field.
“He’s in a profession that has a very limited lifespan, unlike a doctor who can continue working for 50 years,” Rudolf noted. “Each season he misses has a financial impact on him, his family and his children.”
Carruth, 26, a 1997 first-round draft choice out of Colorado, caught 44 passes for 545 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie, but played in only seven games over the next two years because of injuries and his arrest. He was cut by the Panthers after his arrest. Carruth is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of Cherica Adams in November. Adams gave birth to Carruth’s son by emergency cesarean section but died Dec. 14. The boy is now living with Adams’ mother. Three other men are also charged with murder in the case.
The lawyer for former Green Bay Packers tight end Mark Chmura says his client was charged with child enticement only because he refused to plea-bargain in a statutory rape case.
“It was clear if I entered a plea, there wouldn’t be any additional charges,” said attorney Gerald Boyle, who called Waukesha County (Wis.) District Attorney Paul Bucher “vindictive.” Bucher “told me there would be additional charges if this matter did not resolve itself,” Boyle said.
Chmura, 31, a star on the Packers’ Super Bowl-winning teams of the late ’90s, was charged with third-degree sexual assault in May after a 17-year-old girl told police he’d forced himself on her sexually in a bathroom at a party the previous month. The second charge was added June 22. Chmura has pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Prosecutor Bucher says the child enticement charge was added after the girl’s testimony at a pretrial hearing May 30. Chmura was cut by the Packers following his arrest. His career was in danger anyway because of a neck injury.
A Tennessee grand jury has indicted Indianapolis Colts running back Fred Lane on misdemeanor drug charges, but prosecutors have dropped weapons charges against the player, citing a lack of evidence.
Lane was arrested in February when undercover Jackson police officers searched his car after noticing what they said was suspicious behavior by Lane and three other men. Police say the officers found 1.3 grams of marijuana and a .22-caliber rifle.
Lane, 24, was traded to the Colts in April by the Carolina Panthers, where he gained 2,001 yards in three seasons to become the young franchise’s career rushing leader. The trade did not appear to be related to his arrest. The Panthers figure to make newly signed Natrone Means their top runner this year.
Update: 5:30 p.m. Thursday The Associated Press reports that Lane was found shot to death Thursday in his Charlotte home. Police said Lane’s wife, Deidra, was being questioned, and that domestic violence may have been involved. The couple had a 7-day-old infant and a 5-year-old son.
The AP quotes Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Capt. Chuck Johnson saying that the shooting was “a homicide, but [that] doesn’t mean it wasn’t justified.”
It’s not all depressing news: Two NFL players were among those who helped pull victims from a collapsed terrace at an Ohio winery over the weekend. The Associated Press reported that Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Steve Zahursky and New York Giants wide receiver Joe Jurevicius lent their considerable muscle to the rescue operations after the terrace’s floor collapsed, killing one and injuring 75.