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The boy who defied odds after a 1999 shooting that left his mother dead and left him with cerebral palsy and brain damage is now a happy, adjusted adult who loves to smile and talk.
Chancellor Lee Adams, the son of former NFL football player Ray Carruth, has been raised by his paternal grandmother after his father hired a hitman to shoot his mother, Cherica Adams, as she drove home from a movie.
Adams, who passed away in the hospital from her injuries, was pregnant with Chancellor at the time, who survived the ordeal, but developed several disabilities, including cerebral palsy.
“The time has flown by,” Saundra Adams, Chancellor’s grandmother, told The Charlotte Observer. “It really feels like it was just a couple of years ago that we were bringing him home from the hospital.”
Saundra, Cherica Adams’ mother, raised Chancellor since birth. She’s planned a unique 18th birthday for him, as his situation is anything but common. Chancellor not only lives with cerebral palsy, but he also developed permanent brain damage when he was deprived of oxygen once his mother was shot. Physicians delivered Chancellor via an emergency C-section, and his survival was considered miraculous.
For his birthday, Saundra took her grandson on a hayride, followed by a visit to a petting zoo, where he ate cake and later petted the animals. Afterward, he enjoyed a large meal with friends and family members.
“Chancellor will be in the starring role,” Saundra previously said “And he deserves that. You only get to be 18 once.”
Chancellor’s biological father, Rae Carruth, a first-round pick for the Carolina Panthers in 1997, was sentenced to 18 to 24 years in prison in 1999, after a jury found him guilty of shooting into an occupied vehicle, conspiracy to commit murder, and “using an instrument to destroy an unborn child.”
Van Brett Watkins Sr., a night club manager and hitman Carruth hired to shoot Cherica Adams, received 40 years and three months in prison for shooting the victim numerous times while she sat in her car. Although the bullets didn’t directly hit Chancellor, the lack of oxygen after his mother got hit caused his current disabilities.
Saundra now attends various jails and prisons in the North Carolina area with her grandson, where she talks about her daughter’s life, happened to her, and the importance of trying to forgive people who have done wrong in the past.
“I can’t speak on what actually drove Rae to conjure up such a devastating and dire plan to actually have her killed,” Adams told a group of around 25 prisoners. “It came out basically he didn’t want to pay child support. He already had a child…He had told that child’s mother: ‘Be careful when you come to Charlotte to watch me play football because something could happen to you.’”
“We learned through the process that he got someone else pregnant and got them to have an abortion. Well, Cherica would not do that. So the plan progressed – from having her pushed down the steps to lose the child – to full-blown murder.”
— Steve Crump WBTV (@SteveCrumpWBTV) October 9, 2017
Carruth, whose real name, according to the North Carolina Department of Corrections is “Rae Wiggins,” is scheduled for release from prison in Oct. 2018. Saundra plans to have Chancellor, who bears a striking resemblance to Carruth, standing at the prison gate, awaiting the man who shot his mother. Saundra said she believes in “hope and forgiveness,” and wants to give Carruth the chance to make amends to his son.