SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Charlotte Observer and McClatchy Studios announced today the October 16 launch of "Carruth," a serialized podcast about the former Carolina Panthers star receiver who was implicated in the murder of his pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams. Carruth, a former No. 1 draft choice of the National Football League's Carolina Panthers, has been serving a 19-year sentence for conspiracy to commit murder. He will be released from prison October 22, 2018.
The series is based on the reporting of Charlotte Observer sports writer Scott Fowler, who also serves as the host of the podcast and breaks new ground in the case.
"Scott is among the leading authorities on this case," said Sherry Chisenhall, executive editor of The Charlotte Observer. "He has covered this story from the day Carruth joined the Panthers, to the day of the shooting, through the three-month-long trial, and to this day."
The "Carruth" podcast is part of a seven-part multimedia package produced by The Charlotte Observer and McClatchy Studios comprising the audio, videos and news stories for each chapter of the saga. All of the bingeable chapters will publish October 16. That day, the full package can be found at charlotteobserver.com/carruth. The podcast will also available on October 16 at charlotteobserver.com/carruthpodcast, and on Apple Podcasts.
"I have been fascinated by this story for the better part of two decades," Fowler said. "It not only produced our city's trial of the century, but its larger themes strike chords that go far beyond football: murder, betrayal, seduction, love, resilience and courage. For me it is the story of a lifetime, and one I don't think has ever been fully told until now.
"This rich and engrossing story lent itself perfectly to the audio format. We had so many elements, from Cherica Adams' haunting 911 call to a lengthy interview I recorded with her killer to the compelling storytelling of Cherica's mom, Saundra Adams."
While doctors could not save Cherica Adams, her son was delivered by emergency C-section 10 weeks premature. Chancellor Lee Adams is now 18 years old and Saundra Adams calls her grandson the "miracle boy."
The podcast is supported by leading nonprofit domestic violence and children's advocacy organizations: The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, NO MORE, Safe Alliance and the Children's Defense Fund.
"We're grateful for the support of our partners," said Davin Coburn, McClatchy's senior podcast producer. "This October, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we're proud that the powerful story of Saundra Adams and her grandson, Chancellor Lee, will help expand the conversations about domestic abuse and children's welfare in Charlotte, and far beyond."
The podcast episodes are each roughly 35 minutes in length:
Chapter 1: Rae and Cherica
Cherica Adams, a former model and dancer from Charlotte, meets NFL player Rae Carruth at a summer pool party. Carruth, a Sacramento native, has looks and a magnetic charm. Soon Cherica is pregnant—but the harrowing trail of women in Carruth's past suggest the Carolina Panthers first-round draft pick is struggling with adult responsibility in the face of the fame and fortune lavished upon a young professional athlete.
Chapter 2: The Hitman Speaks
A murder plot unfolds. From deep inside a North Carolina maximum-security prison, hitman Van Brett Watkins offers us a meticulous and unflinching account of the deal he struck with Rae Carruth to murder Cherica Adams and their unborn son. Coupled with explosive confession tapes and a gripping 911 call, a portrait of Carruth as a master manipulator emerges. To this day, however, some still vehemently dispute Carruth's involvement.
Chapter 3: Life and Death
Emergency crews race Cherica Adams to the hospital, and her son, Chancellor Lee, is born via emergency C-section, 10 weeks premature and weighing less than 4 pounds. Police investigators describe to us piecing together the events of that night, as Cherica's handwritten notes from her hospital bed point the way toward Rae Carruth. But as she and her son both fight for life in Carolinas Medical Center, only one will survive.
Chapter 4: The Manhunt
As funeral arrangements are made in Charlotte, Rae Carruth flees the state in the trunk of a friend's car. Soon, he's the target of an FBI manhunt led by agent Mark Post, who recreates for us the trail that led him to a Best Western parking lot in rural Tennessee, where he found Carruth stuffed in the back of a Toyota Camry. Carruth becomes the first active NFL player to be charged with first-degree murder.
Chapter 5: On Trial
Chancellor Lee heads home from the hospital under the watchful eye of his maternal grandmother, Saundra Adams. Before long, the most notorious trial in Charlotte history gets under way, and quickly sees lawyers sparring with witnesses, and with each other. With Rae Carruth facing the death penalty, his lead defense attorney tells in more detail than ever before how he attempts to make his case and save Carruth's life—but will the jury believe him?
Chapter 6: 'Miracle' Boy
Jury foreman Clark Pennell takes us inside days of tense deliberations, before he delivers the verdict on charges against Rae Carruth that pleases no one—yet survives every appeal. As Chancellor Lee grows, his doctors explain to us diagnosing him with Cerebral Palsy as a result of his traumatic birth. Chancellor Lee's speech is halting and his movement labored, yet thanks in part to physical gifts inherited from his father, Chancellor Lee surpasses doctors' expectations for his progress and development in physical therapy, at the nearby horse-riding stables, and at home.
Chapter 7: Forgiveness
As Rae Carruth's October 22, 2018 prison release date nears, Saundra Adams, the mother of the pregnant woman Carruth conspired to murder, tells us how she's found a way to forgive the men who killed Cherica Adams. Those closest to the case wonder what if any relationship Carruth should have with Chancellor Lee. Saundra Adams honors her daughter's legacy through advocacy work on behalf of domestic violence survivors in North Carolina and beyond.
About The Charlotte Observer
Since 1886, The Charlotte Observer has been dedicated to serving Charlotte and its surrounding region with strong, independent journalism. The Observer is the largest circulating newspaper in North Carolina and the most visited news and information website in the Carolinas. Its staff has won four Pulitzer Prizes, including two Gold Medals for Public Service. #Readlocal
About McClatchy Studios
McClatchy Studios is the documentary production arm of McClatchy and is dedicated to revelatory nonfiction storytelling driven by local characters with national appeal. We tap into the rich, on-the-ground reporting by our team of multimedia journalists based in local communities across the US and package it in formats that engage audiences on a variety of platforms. We find compelling ways to embrace everything storytelling can be — inspiring, motivating and entertaining.
McClatchy operates 30 media companies in 14 states, providing each of its communities with strong independent local journalism in the public interest and advertising services in a wide array of digital and print formats. McClatchy publishes iconic local brands including the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star, The Sacramento Bee, The Charlotte Observer, The (Raleigh) News & Observer, and the (Fort Worth) Star-Telegram. McClatchy is headquartered in Sacramento, Calif., and listed on the New York Stock Exchange American under the symbol MNI. #ReadLocal