Rae Carruth Asked for Custody of His Son — Despite Leaving Him Disabled in Plot to Kill Mom

Ed. Note: After 19 years behind bars in North Carolina, former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth was released from prison early Monday morning, PEOPLE confirms.

Carruth, 44, was convicted in 2001 for conspiracy to commit murder, after hiring a hitman to kill his pregnant girlfriend. Carruth’s son Chancellor was subsequently born seven weeks premature and left with severe disabilities, including suffering from cerebral palsy. Earlier this year, Carruth wrote a letter to local television station WBTV, intended for Chancellor’s grandmother, Saundra Adams, who cares for Chancellor, asking to be considered for custody.

In an interview with the station, Adams responded, “He will not have custody of Chancellor,”

PEOPLE is reposting the February 23 article upon Carruth’s release. 

Former NFL wide receiver Rae Carruth wants custody of his son after he’s released from prison — despite plotting the murder of the now-18-year-old’s mom when she was pregnant with their baby, leaving him with severe disabilities.

Carruth has been imprisoned since 2001 and is expected to be released in October, North Carolina Department of Public Safety spokesman Jerry Higgins tells PEOPLE.

He recently wrote a letter to the child’s grandmother, Saundra Adams, who cares for the teen with cerebral palsy. Saundra Adams is the mother of Cherica Adams, who died after Carruth hired a hitman to fatally shoot her in 1999.

As a result of the murder, the baby, Chancellor Lee Adams, was born seven weeks premature and with cerebral palsy.

In his letter, Carruth says, “Ms. Adams, it would mean everything to me to be able to know and have a relationship with my son. I owe him.”

(The letter was actually sent to local TV station WBTV but was intended for Adams, as Carruth claims Adams does not respond to his letters.)

Carruth writes that he has only seen Chancellor twice in the boy’s life, but that he keeps up with him through media reports.

He writes, “I’d give anything to have the opportunity to do right by Chancellor and to play a meaningful role in his life. I mean, come on Ms. Adams, the reality is you aren’t going to be around forever. At some point someone else will have to be responsible for Chancellor’s care. That being said, of course when that time comes, I would like to be in a position to be seriously considered as a viable option.”

In a subsequent TV interview, Carruth told WBTV, “I should be raising my son.”

Carruth also apologizes in the letter for his role in Cherica Adams’ death, writing, “Ms. Adams, I want to sincerely apologize to you for the senseless act that led to the death of your daughter Cherica and the permanent mental and physical difficulties that Cancellor has to suffer through.”

However, he accuses Saundra Adams of lying about him publicly, and says that he and Cherica Adams were never boyfriend and girlfriend.

“Lust was the tie that bound us, not Like or Love, and neither one of us was ever guilty of believing anything contrary to this,” Carruth writes.

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While accusing Saundra Adams of lying about him, Carruth muses on the nature of sin, seemingly drawing an equivalence between his own behavior and that of Adams, writing, “In my lifetime, I’ve come to the realization that everyone sins. Yet, hypocritically enough, we all tend to hate those that sin differently than ourselves. The thing is, sin is sin, no matter how big or small an individual may want to perceive his/hers.”

Carruth is currently serving an 18 to 24-year sentence in a North Carolina prison after being convicted in 2001 for conspiracy to commit murder.

Child’s Grandmother: ‘He Will Not Have Custody of Chancellor’

In an interview with WBTV following publication of the letter, Saundra Adams said Carruth will never have custody of his son.

“He will not have custody of Chancellor,” Adams told the station, adding, “I don’t think [Carruth] understands the magnitude of what I go through on a day to day basis at all.”

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While acknowledging she was grateful for his apology, Adams said, “I still see … the narcissistic behavior. I still see the selfishness. He’s trying to make this all about him.”

PEOPLE’s call to Adams was not immediately returned.

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