Rae Carruth will have to wait until at least February before he goes to trial on charges he plotted to murder his pregnant girlfriend.
The former NFL player had wanted an earlier trial date, certain he will be acquitted and intent on resuming his football career.
"My client is sitting in jail and he's innocent and he wants to get on with his life," his lawyer, David Rudolf, said Wednesday.
Rudolf said Carruth "absolutely" wants to get back into football. The wide receiver was a first-round draft pick by the Carolina Panthers.
When Rudolf requested a Nov. 15 trial date, prosecutors said the earliest they could go to trial was February. Judge Charles Lamm instructed both sides to agree on a precise date after the new year.
Carruth and three other men are charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Cherica Adams on Nov. 16. She gave birth to Carruth's son, Chancellor, during an emergency Caesarean section and died Dec. 14. Adams' mother has been granted temporary custody of the boy.
Rudolf said Wednesday he wants Carruth tried before the other three defendants. Lamm said the district attorney's office is responsible for choosing the order in which the four men are tried, meaning Carruth's trial is not guaranteed to be the first one next year.
In asking for a speedy trial, Rudolf noted that a career in professional football is short.
"He's in a profession that has a very limited lifespan, unlike a doctor who can continue working for 50 years," Rudolf said. "Assuming he got back into football, each season he misses has a financial impact on him, his family and his children."
Carruth appeared in court Wednesday with a full head of hair, the first time since his arrest he hasn't showed up with a shaven head. His mother, Theodry Carruth, said he grew back his hair because he thought it looked good.
Rudolf has said the pretrial publicity has harmed Carruth's right to a fair trial, but postponed arguing a motion to have the judge investigate leaks to the media.
Lamm denied Rudolf's request that prosecutors reveal more evidence to defense attorneys after prosecutors said they already had turned over all pertinent information.
The judge also delayed ruling on another Rudolf motion, to suppress evidence he claims police coerced from Carruth's co-defendants. Lamm said the motion was premature.
Police said Carruth was in one car and Michael Eugene Kennedy, Van Brett Watkins and Stanley Drew Abraham in another when Adams was shot four times while driving Nov. 16.
Rudolf previously sought to disqualify Kennedy's attorney, James Exum. Exum told reporters in December that Kennedy had said Carruth didn't want the baby Adams was carrying
Lamm rejected the motion and on Wednesday rejected a request by prosecutors to have a third attorney appointed for Kennedy should Exum eventually be disqualified.
"When I said in the first ruling that Mr. Exum should not be disqualified at this time, it did not mean perhaps down the line he would be disqualified," Lamm said.
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