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Deidra LANE





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Alleged domestic dispute
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: July 6, 2000
Date of arrest: August 2003
Date of birth: 1975
Victim profile: Her estranged husband, Fred Lane (Carolina Panthers running back)
Method of murder: Shooting (shotgun)
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Status: Pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. Sentenced to seven years and 11 months in prison on November 5, 2003. Released on March 3, 2009

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Deidra Lane seemed set for life. She was married to the career-leading running back for the Carolina Panthers; she had a big new house in suburban Charlotte, a five-year-old son and a life most 25-year-olds would envy.

But with a new baby on the way and Fred traded to the Indianapolis Colts at the beginning of 2000, there were big changes in store for the young couple. Deidra and Fred began fighting over money and over the amount of time he spent on the road. Police had been called to the house over at least one incident of domestic violence.

Then on July 6th, 2000, just days after the birth of Deidra's second child, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department received a frantic 911 call from the Lane residence. Deidra Lane had just shot her husband.

She claimed she killed Fred in self-defense, but when Mecklenburg County deputies arrived at the house, something about Deidra's story didn't seem quite right. Fred's keys were still in the lock and Fred had been shot twice with a 12-gauge shotgun - once in the chest and a second time in the back of the head, apparently at point blank range.

Several weeks later, Deidra was arrested and charged with murder. But before she could face those charges, she was charged by federal authorities for a 1998 bank robbery, which she orchestrated with a friend, one of the bank's tellers. Deidra pled guilty to the larceny charges.

Then, she pled guilty to the involuntary manslaughter of her husband. At the lengthy sentencing hearing, her attorneys alleged she was a battered spouse. But, prosecutors said it was Deidra who was violent and abusive. After hearing the evidence, the judge sentenced Deidra to 8 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed.


Woman who killed former Panther released from prison

March 3, 2009

RALEIGH (AP) — The widow of slain Carolina Panthers running back Fred Lane walked out of prison Tuesday after serving nearly six years for his shotgun death.

Deidra Lane, 33, was released from the Raleigh Correctional Center for Women on the city's south side at 9:25 a.m. and walked out the front door into a BMW, where relatives waited to take her home. She did not stop to speak to reporters.

A message left for Fred Lane Sr., Fred Lane's father, was not immediately returned.

Deidra Lane pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in 2003, three years after her estranged husband was found fatally shot inside their home. Fred Lane played for the Carolina Panthers for three years and had been traded to the Indianapolis Colts before his death.

Prosecutors at her sentencing described Deidra Lane as an abusive woman who killed her husband for insurance money. Defense attorneys called her a battered wife who killed in self defense.

A judge sentenced Deidra Lane to seven years and 11 months, ruling her actions were premeditated and deliberate, that she acted with malice and shot him a second time after he'd already been rendered helpless. She received credit for jail time served waiting on a federal charge of conspiracy to commit bank larceny. She pleaded guilty and served four months for that charge.

The Lanes had been having difficulties before the shooting. In March 2000, Deidra Lane filed a domestic complaint saying her husband had snatched a necklace from around her neck, causing her to fall. She never pressed charges. Fred Lane also had spent several weeks in late June and early July of that year staying with his family in Nashville.

Authorities said Deidra Lane waited for her husband on July 6 as he returned from his family home. They said she shot him once as he walked through the door, then walked through his blood and shot him a second time in the back of the head.

Police found him dead inside the front door of the couple's Charlotte home. His keys were still in the door.

"He just got shot because he wouldn't leave me alone," a sobbing and screaming Lane told a 911 operator the day of the shooting. "I kept telling him to stop."

Fred Lane, 24, was a running back for the Carolina Panthers from 1997 to 2000, when he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Lane is the Panthers' fifth-leading all-time rusher, finishing with 2,001 yards before his April 2000 trade.


Widow jailed for killing NFL husband

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) -- The widow of NFL running back Fred Lane was sentenced to nearly eight years in prison Wednesday for shooting her husband to death three years ago as he walked in the front door.

Deidra Lane, 28, broke down in tears as the judge read the sentence. She pleaded guilty in August to voluntary manslaughter.

She said her husband had abused her physically and emotionally. "I loved Fred dearly ... but at times he scared me and I didn't know him then," she said.

Judge Timothy Patti gave her the maximum sentence, ruling that the slaying was premeditated and deliberate, that Lane acted with malice, and that she shot her husband a second time after the first shot rendered him helpless. Those factors outweighed the alleged abuse, the judge said.

Fred Lane, a 24-year-old running back for the Carolina Panthers who had recently been traded to Indianapolis, was found dead just inside the front door of his Charlotte home in 2000, his keys still in the lock.

Deidra Lane also pleaded guilty last year to unrelated charges of conspiracy to commit bank larceny. She was sentenced to four months in jail, which she has served, and fined $41,200.


Medical examiner: First shotgun blast left Lane unconscious

October 31, 2003

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A tearful Deidra Lane left the courtroom twice Wednesday, avoiding graphic testimony about her shooting of her late husband, NFL running back Fred Lane.

Prosecutors concluded their case in the sentencing hearing for Deidra Lane, 28, who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in August.

Lawyers for Lane, who faces a sentence of up to eight years, presented their first witness, an obstetrician who said Lane told her three weeks before the shooting that she had been physically and verbally abused by her husband.

Deidra Lane spent most of the day slumped in her chair at the defense table, eyes cast downward and frequently crying. She first left the courtroom during morning testimony by Mecklenburg County's medical examiner, Dr. Michael Sullivan, about his autopsy of Fred Lane.

Lane left again just before a police department firearms expert showed the heavily bloodstained yellow shirt Fred Lane was wearing when he was killed on July 6, 2000.

In both cases, Superior Court Judge Timothy Patti allowed Lane to leave after reminding her that she was waiving her constitutional right to be present.

Both the firearms expert, Bill McBrayer, and Sullivan testified that they concluded Fred Lane was shot from distances of 8 feet or less.

Sullivan said that the first shot fired at Fred Lane, which struck him in the chest and ripped apart his heart, "would cause a loss of consciousness very rapidly, within seconds, certainly less than a minute."

Deidra Lane told police investigators her husband was still moving after she fired the first shot and that she fired a second time because she "(thought) he was going to get up and come back at me."

The prosecution concluded its case by showing Patti photographs of the crime scene and a videotaped re-enactment of the shooting as it was described by Deidra Lane to police investigators.

The tape, made two months after the shooting, featured police detectives playing the roles of Fred and Deidra Lane.

Among other things, the tape showed Deidra Lane would have had to be standing almost directly over her husband's prone body to have fired the second shot from 3 feet away, as Sullivan concluded. That could raise doubt about her claim that Fred Lane still threatened her when she shot him in the back of the head.

Fred Lane, who played for the Carolina Panthers and was traded to Indianapolis shortly before his death, was shot as he entered his south Charlotte home. His body was found face down in a pool of blood in the entryway.

Prosecutors believe Deidra Lane, who had given birth to a daughter one week earlier, shot Fred Lane as he walked through the door, then walked through a pool of his blood to shoot him a second time.

Defense lawyers say Fred Lane entered the house in a rage and that Deidra Lane killed him in self-defense.

Dr. Devon Delaney, who was Deidra Lane's obstetrician, testified that Lane told her at a June 14, 2000, office visit that Fred Lane had physically and verbally abused her. On June 28, Delaney said, Lane asked to have her pregnancy induced so that she could give birth before Fred Lane returned to Charlotte from an out-of-town trip.

The baby was born the following day.

Defense documents filed in the case have argued that Fred Lane's abuse of his wife grew more frequent and severe in the weeks before his death. Fred Lane is alleged to have pushed Deidra Lane out of a car as he accelerated away and to have grabbed her by the throat, lifted her off the ground and thrown her into a sink.

Under cross-examination, Delaney acknowledged that she never saw bruises or other physical signs of abuse or injury on Lane beyond a cut lip that Lane told her was an accident.

The hearing is expected to last more than a week, unusual for a sentencing. But no evidence was put on before Deidra Lane entered her guilty plea, and the agreement leaves sentencing up to Patti.


Police Release Lane 911 Tape

Fred Lane's wife told a 911 operator that her husband choked and hit her and said her baby wasn't his child before she fatally shot the NFL running back in their home, according to a police recording released Tuesday.

The 11-minute tape of the July 6 telephone conversation between Deidra Lane and the operator was released by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police one week after murder charges were filed against her in her husband's death.

Deidra Lane told an operator that she shot her husband twice, minutes after he walked through the door of their suburban Charlotte home, according to tapes released to the Charlotte Observer.

"I was standing here and he came in. I just had the baby seven days ago," Lane says on the tape, screaming and sobbing. "And he came in and he started choking me. He was like, 'That baby's not mine.' He started hitting me. He just got shot because he wouldn't leave me alone. I kept telling him to stop."

Deidra Lane, 25, turned herself in to police Aug. 23. She is free on $100,000 bond while she awaits a murder trial in the death of the former Carolina Panthers player. She could receive life in prison or the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder.

Police had been fighting a judge's order to release the tape to the media, but they decided to make it public Tuesday.

"We thought it was just time," police attorney Mark Newbold told the Observer, declining to elaborate.

Deidra Lane's attorney, Henderson Hill, and Mecklenburg County Assistant District Attorney Marsha Goodenow, who is prosecuting the case, both declined comment on the tape.

The tape covered the time from when she called 911 until police were inside her home. After she spoke with the 911 operator, Deidra Lane spent several hours giving police a voluntary statement about the shooting.

The 911 operator on the tape repeatedly tells a hysterical Deidra Lane to take a deep breath, calm down and tell her what happened.

"I think I shot him in the chest or stomach and I think I just shot him again. I don't know. Please send somebody. There is blood everywhere. There is blood all over me."

The operator asks if he is breathing.

"I don't know. I didn't go near him," she responds. "I'm sorry Pilarr. ... I'm sorry," she says, speaking to her baby, born a week before the shooting. She told the operator that she's nursing the baby.

Later, she told the operator: "He just walked in the door like two or three or four minutes ago. He wasn't even here that long. I was just coming back from the kitchen and he just said, `Someone told me that's not my baby.' I don't even know if he dropped his luggage or not."

Prosecutors said last week uring a bond hearing that Deidra Lane shot her husband to collect on a $5 million life insurance policy. They said Deidra Lane of walking through her husband's blood on the floor, putting the shotgun to the back of his head and firing again.

Defense attorney Henderson Hill said after the hearing Deidra Lane will present a much different picture of the facts at trial.

On the 911 tape, she says, "I was so scared, I just shot him again."

She also tells the operator her husband had assaulted her before.

"It was in the paper once, but I denied it. I mean I didn't really tell my friends know. But I was so embarrassed because of who he is," she said. "He always told me if I ever told anybody, he'd make it worse and I'd ruin his career."

In March, Deidra Lane filed a domestic violence complaint against Fred Lane, accusing her husband of snatching a necklace from her neck during an argument. But she later said her husband "never put his hands on me.·


Prosecutor Says Widow of NFL Player Planned Slaying; Judge Allows Bond

By Paul Nowell -

Friday, August 25, 2000

CHARLOTTE — NFL running back Fred Lane was killed by an estranged wife who waited for him to return home and blew his body to shreds with two shotgun blasts, the prosecutor in the case said Friday.

Deidra Lane, 25, planned her husband's death to collect on a $5 million life insurance policy taken out between 30 and 45 days before the shooting, assistant district attorney Gentry Caudill said at a bond hearing.

Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Richard Boner ruled Deidra Lane could be released on $100,000 secured bond.

Caudill said prosecutors had not decided on whether to pursue the death penalty, but told the judge Mrs. Lane's premeditation could qualify as a capital offense.

"Fred lane had no value to Deidra Lane while he was alive," Caudill said. "The state contends this was first-degree murder. She laid in wait to kill him."

Defense attorney Henderson Hill told the judge that Deidra Lane posed no risk of flight or danger to anyone in the community.

"There is just tragedy all over this case, there's no question about that," Hill said.

In addition, she is nursing the couple's eight-week-old daughter. Deidra Lane's 4-year-old son from a previous relationship is suffering from the loss of his father figure and his mother's arrest, Hill said.

"I think the emotional health of this young 25-year-old and her two young children are very important factors that should weigh heavily on your decision on whether she should be released," Hill said.

Deidra Lane hung her head and sobbed heavily as Hill spoke.

Boner offered no reason why he decided to set bond.

He ordered Deidra Lane not to leave Mecklenburg County. He warned that the $100,000 in cash or assets posted as bond would be forfeit if she failed to appear at future hearings.

Fred Lane, 24, was shot and killed July 6 during an argument with his wife at the couple's home. She was charged with murder this week.

Caudill had opposed the bond, saying the couple had separated two weeks before the slaying after Deidra Lane pointed a pistol at her husband. He moved in with relatives in Nashville, Tenn., after training with the Indianapolis Colts. The running back had been traded from the Carolina Panthers to the Colts in April.

"They separated because Deidra Lane was going through all his money," Caudill said. "He was making $600,000 a year but when he went back to Nashville he was almost penniless because Deidra Lane controlled all of their money."

Deidra Lane bought the plane ticket for her husband to fly from Nashville to Charlotte and arranged for her brother to pick Fred Lane up at airport, Caudill said. Mrs. Lane's mother, who had been living with her in the couple's home, and Deidra Lane's 4-year-old son from a previous relationship, were not at home at the time of the shooting.

"When police arrived at the residence, Fred Lane's keys were in the door. His bags were still in the foyer and a 12-gauge shotgun was on the floor," Caudill said.

Blood splatter patterns indicated that the first shotgun blast hit Fred Lane in the chest, the prosecutor said.

"That shot in effect blew out Fred Lane's heart," Caudill said. "As Fred Lane lay there dying. Deidra Lane walked through his blood and put the shotgun up to his head and blew his skull off."

An autopsy released Thursday said showed one gun blast struck him behind the right ear. It traveled upward, slightly to the left and slightly forward, injuring the skull and brain. An X-ray revealed about 16 shotgun pellets, most of which were recovered from the skull and scalp, the autopsy said.

The other blast struck Lane in the upper right chest, traveling to the left and slightly downward and injuring his heart, lungs and other internal organs.

Fred Lane's father, Fred Lane Sr., watched the hearing from the front row of courtroom seats directly behind Deidra Lane. He put head down and placed a hand over his eyes as the judge said he would allow Mrs. Lane free on bond.

Fred Lane Sr. declined to speak to reporters after the hearing.

Deidra Lane's parents also left without commenting.

Lane's death came eight months after former Carolina teammate Rae Carruth and three other men were charged with killing Carruth's pregnant girlfriend. Carruth, 26, is being held without bond awaiting trial for first-degree murder.

Lane, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound running back, played for three seasons with Carolina and became the Panthers' leading career rusher in November.

The Panthers re-signed Lane before the 1999 season to a two-year, $1.276 million contract with a $300,000 signing bonus. Lane shared rushing duties with Biakabutuka but played largely as a backup late in the season.


Fred Lane found shot to death

July 7, 2000

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Indianapolis Colts running back Fred Lane, whose brushes with the law increased as his career faded, was shot to death Thursday by his wife, police said.

Lane was pronounced dead at his Charlotte home at 3:15 p.m. after an argument with his wife, 25-year-old Deidra. No charges were immediately filed.

Lane, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound running back, was the leading career rusher for the Carolina Panthers, who traded him to the Colts in April.

Police questioned Deidra Lane, along with family members and neighbors.

"The investigation to this point has revealed that Deidra Lane shot her husband during a domestic dispute," the police said in a statement.

A 7-day-old infant was with Deidra Lane at the police station. Their house was decorated with pink balloons and a pink stork. The Lanes also have a 5-year-old son.

The Colts released a statement that said the team was "shocked and saddened" by news of Lane's death.

Lane's father, Fred Lane Sr., said his son and daughter-in-law had been having difficulties recently. Lane had spent the past couple of weeks at the family home in Nashville, Tenn., but visited Charlotte briefly a week ago, his father said.

He had left Tennessee on a flight to Charlotte about two hours before he was shot, the elder Lane said.

Deidra Lane filed a complaint against her husband in March, saying he snatched a necklace from around her neck during an argument, causing her to fall. She did not press charges.

Lane, 24, also had a case pending against him related to his Feb. 3 arrest in Tennessee. A grand jury in Jackson, Tenn., indicted him Monday on the misdemeanor drug charges, but prosecutors dropped weapons charges against him, saying there wasn't enough evidence to support it.

The Panthers suspended Lane for one game in 1998 when he made a lewd gesture to fans at Giants Stadium after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets. The same season, he was demoted to special teams duty after missing a team flight to Dallas, and later apologized for refusing to stand for the national anthem at a game in Buffalo.

The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Lane was the leading career rusher for the Panthers.

At the time of his trade, Carolina coach George Seifert said team owner Jerry Richardson never ordered him to drop Lane, but he knew the Panthers had to cut their ties with troublesome players.

Lane spent three seasons with Carolina and finished with 2,004 yards rushing.

Lane Sr. said his son had been training in Indianapolis before visiting Tennessee. "Everything was going great," in his son's life, he said.

Lane is one of two former Panthers to face legal troubles in recent months.

Rae Carruth, the Panthers' top 1997 draft pick, was charged last fall with fatally shooting his pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams. Carruth is being held without bond in Charlotte, while he awaits trial.

The Panthers re-signed Lane before the 1999 season to a two-year, $1.276 million contract with a $300,000 signing bonus. Lane shared rushing duties with Tshimanga Biakabutuka but played largely as a backup late in the season.

In what would be his last game for Carolina, Lane started for an injured Biakabutuka and rushed for a season-high 90 yards and his only touchdown of the season in a loss at Pittsburgh.


Fred Brown Lane, Jr. (September 6, 1975 – July 6, 2000) was an American football running back in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers.

Early life

Lane was born and raised in Franklin, Tennessee. His father, Fred Lane, Sr., was a star at the old Natchez High School (which later desegregated with Franklin High). Attending Franklin Junior High School, it was noticed that Lane possessed uncommon speed and agility for such a young player.

Lane attended Franklin High School, amassing over 1,000 yards his senior year, while averaging 7.5 yards per carry. His number, 28, is retired by the school.

College career

Lane attended Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee. He finished his career with 3,612 rushing yards, just ten yards behind Tre Rowland.

Pro career

Lane was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Panthers before the 1997 NFL season. He set a then-team record that year with a 147 rushing yard performance. During his three years with the Panthers, he accumulated 2,001 rushing yards (the most in franchise history at the time) and 13 touchdowns.

In 1998, Lane was late for the team's charter plane to Dallas, and was benched as punishment. Later that season, he celebrated a touchdown by grabbing his crotch. The gesture was not seen on national television, but was captured by WBTV in Charlotte. When the Panthers saw it, they benched Lane for the next week's game. Lane also embarrassed himself and the Panthers by putting on another elaborate celebration of a touchdown—in a game where the New York Jets defeated Carolina 52-24.

In April 2000, his wife Deidra Lane filed a complaint against him for domestic violence. Shortly thereafter, he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts, where he was set to back up Edgerrin James.


On July 5, 2000, Lane made a phone call to his father telling him that he wanted to sell his motorcycle because he needed the cash. On July 6, 2000, he was shot and killed by his wife Deidra during an alleged domestic dispute. Law enforcement investigators believe Deidra Lane shot her husband moments after he arrived at their Mecklenburg home for the $5 million in life insurance he carried.

Deidra pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter. She claimed that Fred emotionally and physically abused her; however, the judge ruled that the shooting was premeditated and that she deliberately shot Fred twice, even though the first shot rendered him helpless. The judge determined that those factors outweighed the alleged abuse and gave her eight years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed. She served her sentence at Raleigh Correctional Center for Women. She was released on March 3, 2009.



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