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Chancellor Lee Adams, the son of former Carolina Panthers player Rae Carruth, turned 16 earlier in the week. Carruth is serving prison time for conspiring to murder his ex while she was pregnant with his son, to get out of paying child support. 

It was Nov. 16, 1999 when Carruth invited Cherica Adams out on a date, and then back to his North Carolina home. She was eight months pregnant with Chancellor at the time. Cherica was following behind Carruth in her own car when an associate hired by the ex pro-athlete shot her four times.

Cherica was able to make a 911 call while Carruth drove off. “He just left,” she told the emergency operator. “I think he did it. I don’t know what to think.”

Meanwhile, the baby inside her was suffocating as she lost more blood. He also suffered brain damage for going without oxygen for several minutes. Chancellor was delivered that evening via emergency cesarean section, he was 10 weeks premature. Cherica slipped into a coma and died a month later.

Today, the son Carruth tried to kill before he was even born, is beating the odds. Chancellor has cerebral palsy as a result of the shooting but has learned to walk on his own, according to his grandmother. “Chancellor is not just surviving, he is thriving.” said Suandra Adams. “He’s able to feed himself some. He’s able to dress himself with minimal assistance. And the biggest thing is he’s able to walk.”

Adams devoted that last 16 years to raising Chancellor, and has forgiven Carruth for her grandson’s sake. “I chose early on that I would forgive Rae. Because I don’t feel like I can offer unconditional love to Chancellor if I don’t forgive Rae. That’s his father. It’s a part of him. Chancellor wouldn’t be who he is without Rae. I want them to bond, or at least to meet again.”

“Right now, Rae is still in denial about his part in Cherica’s murder,” she said. “Not that Chancellor would change that. But if anybody were to ever touch Rae’s heart, to make him want to be truthful, I think it would be Chancellor.”

Carruth, now 41, hasn’t seen Chancellor in 15 years. He is expected to be released from prison Oct. 22, 2018.

Photo: screenshot