Years later, ‘in­con­sis­tent’ ver­dict re­ver­ber­ates

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY SCOTT FOWLER [email protected]­lot­teob­server.com

Rae Car­ruth’s mur­der trial comes to a close with three guilty ver­dicts but one not guilty ver­dict. He and the other men in­volved in his girl­friend Cher­ica Adams’ killing are sen­tenced. His son Chan­cel­lor Lee grows into a teenager.

When the jury in the Rae Car­ruth mur­der trial be­gan its de­lib­er­a­tions on Jan. 16, 2001, noise con­sumed the room. It was like sit­ting around the ta­ble at Thanks­giv­ing din­ner – every­one wanted to talk at once.

Judge Charles Lamm had first in­structed the jury to pick a fore­man. To court­room ob­servers, Herb Brown seemed like a shoo-in: He was a lawyer with 37 years of ex­pe­ri­ence.

But Brown wanted no part of the job.

He told the oth­ers that if he was the fore­man, what­ever ver­dict they reached would be torn to bits, and that out­siders would won­der if the de­ci­sion had been made by a lawyer and his 11 pup­pets. He didn’t want that to hap­pen.

They needed an­other vol­un­teer.

Clark Pen­nell, 52 at the time and work­ing at a Char­lotte char­ity called Cri­sis As­sis­tance Min­istry, raised his hand. So did Jerry Karst, and at least one other juror.

Pen­nell – who had served as a juror on a mur­der case be­fore, although not as a fore­man – was elected in a se­cret bal­lot.

The jury needed to come to unan­i­mous agree­ment on each of the four charges fac­ing the for­mer Carolina Pan­ther in con­nec­tion with the death of Cher­ica Adams, who was nearly eight months preg­nant with Car­ruth’s child when she was shot on Nov. 16, 1999.

The four charges were de­cided upon by the judge shortly be­fore the jury re­ceived the case of State of North Carolina v. Rae Lamar Wig­gins aka Rae Theo­tis Car­ruth.

They were, in or­der of most to least se­vere: First-de­gree mur­der; con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der; us­ing an in­stru­ment with in­tent to de­stroy an un­born child; and dis­charg­ing a firearm into oc­cu­pied prop­erty.

The jury re­ceived a ver­dict sheet for each charge. Once they de­cided on all four charges, Pen­nell would fill out the

sheets, writ­ing “guilty” or “not guilty” on each piece of pa­per.

Triggerman Van Brett Watkins had pleaded guilty to sec­ond-de­gree mur­der as part of his plea bar­gain, guar­an­tee­ing he couldn’t be sen­tenced to death. But the Car­ruth jury wouldn’t have sec­ond-de­gree mur­der, which doesn’t re­quire pre­med­i­ta­tion, as an op­tion.

The dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice had of­fered Watkins the lesser charge in or­der to se­cure his co­op­er­a­tion – and also of­fered it to Car­ruth and the other code­fen­dants. Only Watkins agreed.

But once the trial be­gan and the ev­i­dence was pre­sented in the Car­ruth case, mostly about his al­leged pre­med­i­ta­tion, de­lib­er­a­tion and spe­cific in­tent to kill Cher­ica Adams, the sec­ond-de­gree charge didn’t fit, ac­cord­ing to in­ter­views with both the de­fense and prose­cu­tion.

Gen­try Caudill, the lead pros­e­cu­tor, said that the first-de­gree mur­der charge was the right call by the judge.

“An am­bush of this young woman, fir­ing five times into her at point­blank range – there’s no rea­son, no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, for sub­mit­ting any­thing but first-de­gree mur­der by way of pre­med­i­ta­tion,” he said.

As the 12 ju­rors – seven men and five women – be­gan de­lib­er­a­tions, it quickly be­came ap­par­ent Car­ruth wouldn’t walk out of the court­room a free man like for­mer NFL star O.J. Simp­son did af­ter he was tried in the bru­tal mur­der of his wife and her friend in 1995.

Juror Karst said he was con­vinced of Car­ruth’s guilt when Watkins tes­ti­fied about the night he shot Adams.

“His story was pow­er­ful, nasty and evil as you can get,” Karst said.

And when the jury fi­nally got to de­bate the case, Karst was ready. He asked the oth­ers if every­one agreed that Car­ruth was in it “up to his eye­balls.”

Ev­ery­body agreed that Car­ruth was.

‘THE BEST WE COULD DO’

But up to his eye­balls in what, ex­actly?

Karst be­lieved the prose­cu­tion’s ar­gu­ment com­pletely and ad­vo­cated for first-de­gree mur­der, as well as the three lesser charges.

He didn’t be­lieve lead de­fense at­tor­ney David Ru­dolf’s drug-deal-gonebad de­fense at all.

“My im­pres­sion of David was that he came up with an al­ter­nate set of pos­si­bil­i­ties that were never backed up by any­thing in the tes­ti­mony that I ever heard,” Karst said. “He said it could pos­si­bly have been a drug deal gone bad. And that’s why all this hap­pened.

“None of the tes­ti­mony even hinted at that.”

But Brown, the lawyer, didn’t think Car­ruth was guilty of first-de­gree mur­der – in large part be­cause of the plea deal Watkins got. If the triggerman was guilty of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der, Brown thought, why con­vict some­one who didn’t ac­tu­ally shoot Cher­ica Adams of first-de­gree mur­der? He re­layed that opin­ion to his fel­low ju­rors.

Pen­nell and other ju­rors kept think­ing about Cher­ica Adams’ emer­gency 911 call, when she placed Car­ruth at the scene of the crime af­ter be­ing shot four times.

“We just couldn’t wrap our hands around why would she say some of the things she said at this mo­ment if they weren’t true,” Pen­nell said in a re­cent in­ter­view.

With a fore­man cho­sen and de­lib­er­a­tions about to be­gin, the jury sent the judge a note re­quest­ing sup­plies, in­clud­ing a dry­erase board and mark­ers.

The sim­plest so­lu­tion was to give ju­rors the dry-erase board that all the lawyers had used dur­ing the trial. But Ru­dolf had used the wrong kind of marker on it dur­ing his clos­ing ar­gu­ments.

The words “Rea­son­able Doubts” had been inked on per­ma­nently.

A new board was found and the jury started its work.

At one point, Pen­nell sent Lamm a note say­ing the jury was at an im­passe. Lamm gave them more in­struc­tions, told them to con­sider each oth­ers’ opin­ions more thor­oughly, and sent them back for more de­lib­er­a­tions.

On Fri­day, Jan. 19, 2001 – af­ter 20 hours and mul­ti­ple votes – the jury agreed unan­i­mously on all four counts.

Pen­nell, as the fore­man, signed each of the four ver­dict sheets. The ju­rors walked back into the court­room.

They al­ready knew the ver­dict would be crit­i­cized, and Karst re­called it in an in­ter­view as an “un­for­tu­nate” and “in­con­sis­tent” ver­dict.

“But,” he said, “that was the best we could do at that point.”

‘WE, THE JURY …’

When it was time for the ver­dict to be read, Judge Lamm took a big breath and gazed out over Court­room 3301.

“If ev­ery­body’s here,” he said, “if ev­ery­body’s pre­pared ...”

With Pen­nell set to read the ver­dict in a silent court­room, Car­ruth rose to hear his fate. One day shy of his 27th birth­day, Car­ruth stood be­side Ru­dolf and showed no ex­pres­sion.

“We, the jury,” Pen­nell be­gan, “re­turn a unan­i­mous ver­dict as fol­lows …”

“That the de­fen­dant, Rae Lamar Car­ruth … is guilty of dis­charg­ing a firearm into oc­cu­pied prop­erty … guilty of us­ing an in­stru­ment with in­tent to de­stroy an un­born child … guilty of con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der of Cher­ica Adams …”

Pen­nell paused briefly. “But not guilty of the first-de­gree mur­der of Cher­ica Adams.”

It was a com­pro­mise ver­dict.

Car­ruth, who had no out­ward re­ac­tion at all while the ver­dict was read, wouldn’t get the death penalty. But he also wouldn’t be get­ting out of prison for years. No one got ex­actly what they wanted.

“I was dis­ap­pointed at the time,” Ru­dolf, Car­ruth’s de­fense at­tor­ney, said.

Caudill, the pros­e­cu­tor, agreed.

“Was I dis­ap­pointed?”” he asked. “Yes.”

Theodry Car­ruth, Rae Car­ruth’s mother, would later tell the TV show “20/20” that her son was pun­ished for “the sins of O.J. (Simp­son),” be­cause “peo­ple down here feel that pro­fes­sional ath­letes have just got­ten away with too much.”

Saun­dra Adams, Cher­ica’s mother, said she be­lieved at the time that Caudill and his col­leagues did an ex­cel­lent job prose­cut­ing the case.

But she added that she be­lieved the prose­cu­tion was “over­con­fi­dent” that a jury that con­victed Car­ruth of con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der would also con­vict him for first-de­gree mur­der.

The out­come, Adams said, was not what she wanted, but ul­ti­mately isn’t what she fo­cuses on, ei­ther.

The dif­fer­ence be­tween the 19 years of Car­ruth’s prison sen­tence and the the 40-plus years Van Brett Watkins ul­ti­mately re­ceived wouldn’t change the most im­por­tant thing.

“Cher­ica’s still dead,” she said. “And it’s not bring­ing her back.”

DID JURY ‘FOL­LOW THE LAW’?

Pen­nell, the jury fore­man, said in an in­ter­view that he is “99 per­cent sure” the jury would also have con­victed Car­ruth of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der if given the choice.

That ver­dict might have put Car­ruth in prison for an­other 10 years or so, de­pend­ing on the sen­tence Lamm im­posed.

“I think the state made a huge er­ror by not giv­ing us the op­tion of sec­ond­de­gree mur­der,” Pen­nell said. “If they had given us the op­tion of sec­ond­de­gree mur­der, we in all like­li­hood would have agreed to sec­ond-de­gree mur­der. …

“We all knew that he (Car­ruth) was part of it. But with him not pulling the trig­ger, in good con­science we couldn’t say first-de­gree.”

But it was Lamm – not the pros­e­cu­tors rep­re­sent­ing the state – who wrote the ver­dict sheet lan­guage and de­cided that the first­de­gree mur­der op­tion was what fit the ev­i­dence. Ru­dolf be­lieved the op­tion of first-de­gree mur­der or “not guilty” was cor­rect as well.

Caudill em­pha­sized that he wasn’t crit­i­ciz­ing the jury’s ver­dict. But he also said that if Pen­nell’s and Brown’s state­ments about the ju­rors’ de­ci­sion-mak­ing process were ac­cu­rate, then the jury vi­o­lated its oath.

Said Caudill: “If what they’re say­ing is that be­cause Watkins took the (sec­ond-de­gree mur­der) plea and Car­ruth re­fused to take it, then they made their de­ci­sion based on some sub­jec­tive weigh­ing process, that was to­tally con­trary to their oath to fol­low the law as given to them by the judge – and (to) make their de­ci­sion based on the law and the ev­i­dence.”

Brown, the lawyer on the jury who ad­vo­cated for the split ver­dict, had a dif­fer­ent view.

“I just didn’t think a co-con­spir­a­tor who was not the triggerman should be con­victed of first-de­gree mur­der when the state al­lowed the real mur­derer to plead to sec­ond-de­gree,” he said. “I feel like what Rae Car­ruth was con­victed of was an ap­pro­pri­ate con­vic­tion.”

Im­me­di­ately af­ter the ver­dict, Saun­dra Adams asked Caudill, the other pros­e­cu­tors and mem­bers of her fam­ily if they would join her in a nearby room in­side the court­house be­fore every­one scat­tered.

They formed a cir­cle. Saun­dra asked them to bow their heads.

“And she prayed,” Caudill said. “Prayed for us. Prayed for Rae Car­ruth. Prayed for Van Brett Watkins. It was an in­cred­i­bly mov­ing mo­ment I’ll never for­get.”

NO ‘SMACK ON THE WRIST’

The jury was dis­missed, but the trial wasn’t over.

Lamm still had to de­cide Car­ruth’s sen­tence, and that would take one more day in court. Af­ter the week­end, the trial re­con­vened on a Mon­day.

Ru­dolf tried to get the judge to throw out the ver­dicts, say­ing they were in­con­sis­tent. But Lamm didn’t buy the ar­gu­ment and moved on.

Saun­dra Adams ad­dressed the court for the first time be­fore the sen­tenc­ing. Caudill hadn’t called her dur­ing the trial, in­stead us­ing Cher­ica’s fa­ther, Jeff Moonie, as a wit­ness.

Adams told the court about Chan­cel­lor Lee, the baby Rae Car­ruth wanted dead.

At 14 months old, she said, Chan­cel­lor Lee had cere­bral palsy. He couldn’t hold a bot­tle or a spoon. He had not yet taken his first step.

Born 10 weeks pre­ma­turely on the chaotic night that his mother was shot, he couldn’t sit up on his own. His sig­nif­i­cant brain dam­age would en­sure he would likely al­ways need to live with a care­giver.

Still, Adams told the judge, Cher­ica’s baby showed strength ev­ery day.

“He is our mir­a­cle child,” she said tear­fully.

She also ad­dressed the pun­ish­ment Car­ruth should re­ceive.

“I don’t hate Rae Car­ruth,” she said, “be­cause he is a part of my grand­son. But in no way do I think he should get off easy. He has al­ready had the great­est of mercy. His life has been spared.”

But, Adams said: “Don’t let this be a lit­tle smack on the wrist – ‘Oh, you’ve been a bad boy.’

“Let him take the pun­ish­ment of a man – for once!”

Mo­ments later, Lamm sen­tenced Car­ruth to prison for no less than 18 years and 11 months and no more than 24 years and four months.

The for­mer Pan­ther got credit for the 13 months he had al­ready served, start­ing when the FBI cap­tured him hid­ing in a friend’s car trunk in Ten­nessee in 1999.

He would have no chance at an early pa­role.

Car­ruth was im­me­di­ately whisked away, trans­ported by au­thor­i­ties to Cen­tral Prison in Raleigh.

A SUD­DEN CON­FRONTA­TION

Within hours af­ter the sen­tenc­ing, Court TV had more drama than it bar- gained for on live TV.

Pen­nell, de­layed by traf­fic, was 30 min­utes late to his ap­point­ment to be in­ter­viewed by the net­work that had tele­vised most of the trial. By the time he got there, Rae Car­ruth’s mother, Theodry, had her mi­cro­phone on and was about to go on live.

Pen­nell was star­tled. “My first thought,” he said, “was I shouldn’t do this. But I thought, you know, I’ll do it. Ei­ther I’ll leave, or she’ll leave, or we’ll sit here and act like adults.”

With Pen­nell sit­ting di­rectly be­side her, Theodry Car­ruth sud­denly turned to­ward the jury fore­man.

“I have to ask you this, be­cause it’s been eat­ing my heart up,” she said. “How many black peo­ple have you had in your house in the last five years?”

“Prob­a­bly 40 or 50,” Pen­nell replied.

“Forty or 50? OK. What do you know about drug traf­fick­ing or drug calls?” she asked.

“Not a whole lot,” Pen­nell said.

“What was it about my son that made you feel he was guilty?” Theodry Car­ruth asked. “I re­ally want to know.”

“Mrs. Car­ruth, based on the ev­i­dence that was given to us …” Pen­nell started.

She coun­tered be­fore he could fin­ish: “Give me one shred of ev­i­dence that was pre­sented … be­sides the 911 call that was played so much it made me sick!”

“I will not sit here on live tele­vi­sion and de­bate you,” Pen­nell said.

As the Court TV host tried to stop Theodry Car­ruth’s ques­tion­ing, she started un­hook­ing her TV gear. She dropped the ear­piece and mi­cro­phone in Pen­nell’s lap.

“Be­cause what I feel about this gen­tle­man is he is an up­per-mid­dle class or maybe medium-mid­dle class gen­tle­man who doesn’t know the plight of the black man, be­cause you’ve been given ev­ery­thing while we have to fight for ev­ery­thing we have,” she said be­fore leav­ing. “I don’t think you can sit in judg­ment of the ev­i­dence be­cause there truly was none. They did not put my son at the scene.”

Theodry Car­ruth re­fused in­ter­view re­quests for this story. She has pre­vi­ously told me: “I don’t think any­thing I could pos­si­bly share would change pub­lic opin­ion of my son.” She later apol­o­gized for con­fronting Pen­nell on Court TV.

Pen­nell said in an in­ter­view that the re­marks were “up­set­ting at the time” but that, in ret­ro­spect, he un­der­stood them.

“She had just found out her son had been sen­tenced to 18 or 19 years in jail,” Pen­nell said. “She’s a mother pro­tect­ing her child.”

DID ANY­ONE WIN?

Car­ruth’s case had a pro­found ef­fect on every­one as­so­ci­ated with it, in­clud­ing the lawyers.

James Exum, who rep­re­sented co-con­spir­a­tor Michael Kennedy, said he still talks about Car­ruth’s mis­takes to his clients ev­ery week.

“He wasn’t the only per­son in the world that fa­thered a child with some­one he didn’t want to be with,” Exum said of Car­ruth. “But most of us pay child sup­port, try to be in the child’s life, try to have a rea­son­able rela-

I JUST DIDN’T THINK A CO-CON­SPIR­A­TOR WHO WAS NOT THE TRIGGERMAN SHOULD BE CON­VICTED OF FIRST-DE­GREE MUR­DER …

Herb Brown, juror

tion­ship with the other per­son. … You make a mis­take, don’t com­pound it by do­ing stupid things that may cost some­one a life.”

Caudill and Ru­dolf, 17 years later, as­sessed the trial’s out­come dif­fer­ently.

“There was no win­ner in this case,” Caudill said. “It was just a tragedy all around.”

Said Ru­dolf: “Look­ing back on it, that’s a win. You know, Rae is walk­ing out of prison in Oc­to­ber. … In a lot of ways we sort of won that case.”

Ru­dolf also said the jury’s split de­ci­sion was jus­ti­fied.

“Look­ing back on it now, I think in some strange way the jury sort of fig­ured it out,” he said. “You know? And sort of com­pro­mised to a place that … even Rae can ac­cept, ‘OK, I get it. I’m re­spon­si­ble for this sit­u­a­tion so I needed to pay a price.’

“And so I’m not sit­ting here declar­ing vic­tory. But in a strange sort of way, the jury prob­a­bly got it right.”

AN UN­LIKELY CON­NEC­TION

Of the four co-de­fen­dants, only Car­ruth’s case went to trial. The other three men pleaded guilty to var­i­ous charges.

Kennedy, who drove the car used in the drive-by shoot­ing, served nearly 11 years in prison, get­ting out in 2011. Abra­ham, the front-seat pas­sen­ger, served a lit­tle less than two years and was re­leased in 2001.

Watkins, the triggerman, won’t be re­leased un­til 2046.

Car­ruth is set to walk free on Oct. 22.

When the trial ended, the TV trucks left. So did the re­porters. The four co-de­fen­dants went to prison. The at­tor­neys moved on to new cases. Pub­licly, ev­ery­thing was over.

But pri­vately, life for Saun­dra and Chan­cel­lor Lee Adams was only be­gin­ning. Largely by her­self, she be­gan the long and ar­du­ous but joy­ful project of rais­ing her dis­abled grand­son. Chan­cel­lor Lee’s sig­nif­i­cant brain dam­age and cere­bral palsy – both re­sult­ing from the blood and oxy­gen de­pri­va­tion he sus­tained the night his mother was shot – are ob­sta­cles they both deal with ev­ery day.

All four men have apol­o­gized in one way or an­other for their ac­tions the night Cher­ica Adams was shot. And Saun­dra Adams has pub­licly said many times that she has for­given all four. But she feels the most con­nec­tion with Watkins. He has re­peat­edly shown more re­morse than the other three, ac­cord­ing to Adams.

I told Adams I vis­ited Watkins in prison.

“Is he do­ing OK?” she asked. “Be­cause I knew he had some health is­sues, and I was con­cerned.”

In his cell, Watkins still keeps a let­ter Adams wrote to him on April 18, 2003. Chan­cel­lor Lee was 3 years old at the time.

“If I kept a let­ter that you sent me in 2003, that means you made a great im­pres­sion on me,” Watkins said. He later mailed me a copy of the let­ter. It read:

Mr. Watkins:

You know I am suf­fer­ing. Be­cause of your ac­tions, I will never be able to hold my beau­ti­ful daugh­ter Cher­ica again. Be­cause of your ac­tions, my grand­son Chan­cel­lor can­not do the sim­plest things like call me grand­mommy or play ball with the other chil­dren. Be­cause of your ac­tions, I have a huge hole in my heart.

But de­spite my grief, I want you to know that I have for­given you. I know you have suf­fered too for the hor­ri­ble choices you made that day. I want you to know you will al­ways be in my thoughts and pray­ers and I wish you peace.

Saun­dra Adams

AN IN­TER­VIEW WITH CHAN­CEL­LOR

Saun­dra Adams fre­quently uses the word “mir­a­cle” to de­scribe Chan­cel­lor Lee.

He has had a beau­ti­ful and con­ta­gious smile from birth, and she of­ten says her grand­son is in the “Smile Min­istry.”

For many years, she kept her grand­son mostly shielded from the me­dia. But she hasn’t shielded him from life.

“You watch him look at her,” said Do­cia Hickey, the doc­tor who cared for Chan­cel­lor Lee at the hos­pi­tal in 1999 as he strug­gled to sur­vive. “Her face lights up. His face lights up. They just adore each other.”

Adams said her grand­son in­her­ited many of his mother’s traits. She said she of­ten thinks back to the courage Cher­ica Adams showed dur­ing the 911 call on the night of Chan­cel­lor Lee’s birth.

“She showed so much de­ter­mi­na­tion and fo­cus dur­ing that time, and so did Chan­cel­lor,” Saun­dra Adams said. “Be­cause he could have had a weak spirit and not re­ally fought to live like he did.

“But he was de­ter­mined as well that he was go­ing to live. And I think he’s been de­ter­mined since that time that he will live and be the best Chan­cel­lor that he can be.”

That spirit shows through with each ac­com­plish­ment. Chan­cel­lor Lee has done many things doc­tors thought he might never do.

He goes to high school, al­ways mak­ing straight A’s in classes de­signed for his in­tel­lec­tual abil­ity. He has learned to talk. With phys­i­cal ther­apy and the aid of a walker, he has learned to walk.

He rides horses. His dance team once per­formed at a Pan­thers game.

But mostly, he brings joy to peo­ple – es­pe­cially his grand­mother.

“Chan­cel­lor does not think he’s dis­abled,” she said. “He is abled dif­fer­ently. So he does not con­duct him­self like a help­less per­son.”

Chan­cel­lor Lee calls Saun­dra Adams “GMom.” Saun­dra has al­ways told him that Cher­ica – the per­son Chan­cel­lor calls “his Mommy An­gel” – is in heaven.

Although his dim­ple and pos­i­tive out­look come from Cher­ica, she said, Saun­dra also tells him about the fa­ther he re­sem­bles so much.

In July, Saun­dra let me in­ter­view Chan­cel­lor. He an­swered most of the ques­tions with a smile and one or two words.

He also proudly counted to 100 by tens, care­fully spelled his first name and gave me a hug both at the be­gin­ning and end of the in­ter­view.

He an­swered ques­tions about how old he’ll be on his next birth­day (19) and his fa­vorite horse’s name (Raider).

He re­peated his fa­vorite say­ing from church: “I can do any­thing, be­cause God is with me.”

And he an­swered ques­tions about his fa­ther.

Do you know the name of your fa­ther?

“Rae Car­ruth,” Chan­cel­lor Lee said.

Do you know where your fa­ther is now? “Yeah,” he said. Where? “Prison.”

Do you know what’s go­ing to hap­pen to him pretty soon?

“Get out,” he said. Would you like to meet your fa­ther?

“Yeah.”

PHO­TOS BY JEFF SINER Pool photo for the As­so­ci­ated Press

For­mer Pan­thers re­ceiver Rae Car­ruth ex­its the court­room af­ter Judge Charles Lamm sen­tenced him to at least 18 years and 11 months in 2001 for con­spir­ing to mur­der Cher­ica Adams.

Cher­ica Adams’ step­mother Wanda Moonie, left, and Cher­ica’s mother Saun­dra Adams em­brace af­ter the sen­tenc­ing.

JEFF SINER As­so­ci­ated Press

Af­ter the ver­dict, de­fense at­tor­ney Chris Fialko, sec­ond from left, speaks with Theodry Car­ruth, right, mother of Rae Car­ruth, on Jan. 19, 2001. Theodry Car­ruth would later tell the TV show “20/20” that her son was pun­ished for “the sins of O.J. (Simp­son).”

JEFF SINER [email protected]­lot­teob­server.com

A copy of the note de­liv­ered to Judge Charles Lamm from the jury fore­man in the Rae Car­ruth trial says the jury was at an “im­pass.” Fore­man Clark Pen­nell said he would have spelled the word “im­passe” cor­rectly if he had known the note would be­come pub­lic.

Ob­server file photo

Just af­ter her son was sen­tenced to al­most 19 years in prison, an an­gry Theodry Car­ruth con­fronts jury fore­man Clark Pen­nell dur­ing a live in­ter­view on Court TV.

JEFF SINER [email protected]­lot­teob­server.com

Carolina full­back Brad Hoover gives Chan­cel­lor Lee Adams a foot­ball be­fore a Pan­thers game in 2009. Chan­cel­lor Lee had per­formed with his dance team be­fore the game.

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