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Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Muhammad finally putting Fred Lane's death behind him


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Muhsin Muhammad went to court this week to defend former teammate Fred Lane's character. With that testimony finished, the Carolina wide receiver is now trying to put Lane's death behind him.

Lane was killed July 6, 2000, when he was shot to death by his wife, Deidra, as he entered his south Charlotte home.

Prosecutors have depicted Deidra Lane as a cold-blooded murderer who wanted to collect on a $5 million life insurance policy. Defense lawyers argue that Deidra Lane was protecting herself from an abusive husband.

She pleaded guilty in August to voluntary manslaughter and Muhammad was called to testify Monday at her sentencing hearing.

"It was a tough time and Fred has been gone for three years now and it's kind of hard digging up old wounds and scratching at old wounds," he said. "Once you bury a guy, you have to come back and remember those memories that happened. It kind of digs up old feelings."

Muhammad testified Monday that he saw deep scratches on the running back's neck and that Lane told him about fights with his wife. At a party, Muhammad said, he witnessed Deidra Lane try to hit her husband during an argument. He said Lane pushed his wife away -- not violently, but to keep her away from him.

"I felt that their relationship was pretty unhealthy," Muhammad testified. "It was always kind of up and down."

Prosecutors are seeking a maximum eight-year prison sentence for Deidra Lane. She already has served three years.

Muhammad hopes to finally move on once sentencing is over, and said appearing in court was the first step.

"I think once that day was over with the other day, I was able to put it at rest and finally try to start moving on," he said. "I pray for Fred's family and also Deidra's family, too, because she's going to have to answer to God for what she did."