Carruth released after nearly two decades in prison.
Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth was released just after 8 a.m. ET Monday from the Sampson Correctional Institution in Clinton, North Carolina.
In 2001, Carruth was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder of his pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams, after he orchestrated a plot to kill her during a November 1999 shooting. Adams was shot four times by Van Brett Watkins, who was hired by Carruth. Watkins was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years and remains in jail, while Carruth received a sentence of 18 to 24 years. Michael Kennedy, who drove Watkins to commit the murder, was released from prison in 2011.
According to reports, Carruth stopped his vehicle in front of Adams' as the two returned from a movie, so Kennedy and Watkins could pull alongside in another vehicle to kill Adams. She died about a month after the shooting and the child, Chancellor Lee Adams, was born prematurely.
Due to a loss of blood and oxygen the night of his birth, Chancellor Lee was born with cerebral palsy and permanent brain damage. Saundra Adams, Cherica's mother, has raised her 18-year old grandson since his birth.
ESPN reports that Carruth will be on a nine-month post-release program, according to North Carolina Department of Public Safety spokesman Jerry Higgins. Carruth would need special permission from a case officer to leave the state or the country during that span, but is free to go wherever he pleases after nine months.