As Rae Carruth remained in a Tennessee jail yesterday, about 1,000 sobbing mourners jammed into a Charlotte church for the funeral of the woman he is charged with killing.

Mourners remembered the life of Cherica Adams, 24, and thought of her newborn son, Chancellor, delivered by emergency Caesarean section 10 weeks premature following the Nov. 16 shooting.

Amid tears, they also were warned about a society where such a brutal crime could take place.

Meanwhile, Charlotte police continued to work out the details of Carruth's return from Tennessee to face a charge of first-degree murder. Police said it was unclear when Carruth would be returned.

After the wide receiver, who played for the Carolina Panthers, agreed not to fight extradition, federal authorities dropped an unlawful flight warrant against him. Police said that should speed his return to face first-degree murder charges and that he could be in a Charlotte jail before the end of the weekend.

"Authorities in Tennessee don't want him in their jail," FBI spokesman Erik Blowers said. "Since the [unlawful flight] charges were dropped, I would expect him to be back in a day or two. It's unusual that the charges weren't dropped immediately."

The funeral service for Adams was held at Victory Christian Center, where several large flower arrangements flanked her casket. One arrangement was in the form of a large butterfly for a woman whose nickname was "Cookie." The burial was held immediately afterward at a local cemetery.

In his eulogy, pastor Robyn Gool reminded mourners that everyone has a free will to do good or evil.

"So many people want to ask why God didn't intervene in these circumstances," he said. "Why didn't he stop it? He made us free moral agents. God gave us the right to choose. If a man wants to plot evil, he can choose to do so."

Gool also said society needs to place a higher premium on life.

"If you can blow away a pregnant woman, you've lost your head," he said.

Prosecutors have said Carruth instigated the plot to murder Adams, his pregnant girlfriend.

Adams died Tuesday, 28 days after being struck in the neck and chest by four bullets fired from a passing car as she drove through a southeast Charlotte neighborhood. Prosecutors have said Carruth was in a car near the shooting, and three other men were in a separate vehicle talking with him by cell phone.

Auto Racing

New Sponsor

Viagra, the Pfizer Inc. medication used to treat erectile dysfunction, will be the primary sponsor for a NASCAR racing team during the 2000 season.

Eel River Racing has agreed to place the Viagra name on its No. 27 Pontiac. The car will be driven by Jeff Fuller and Barry Dodson will be the crew chief, the Charlotte Observer reported yesterday.

Pfizer also will partner with Winston Cup stars Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin and Bobby Labonte to encourage men attending NASCAR races to get regular checkups and to educate men about common medical conditions.

Soccer

Rivaldo Honored

Brazilian forward Rivaldo of FC Barcelona has won the voting for world player of the year by readers of World Soccer, a prestigious British magazine. He was the overwhelming winner of the poll, collecting 42.27 percent of the votes. Manchester United midfielder David Beckham was second (26.55 percent), followed by Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko of AC Milan (9.02 percent). . . .

Manchester United scored three times in the opening 19 minutes and held on to stop host West Ham United, 4-2, taking first place in the English Premier League ahead of Leeds. Ryan Giggs and Dwight Yorke scored two goals each as United moved to 39 points, one ahead of Leeds, which plays at Chelsea today. Paolo Di Canio scored both of West Ham's goals but could not prevent it from slipping to its first home defeat of the season.