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Ex-NFL Player Gets Life for Murder

August 25, 1999

LITTLE ROCK (AP) _ Raphel Cherry, a former NFL player with Washington and Detroit, was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for the murder of his estranged wife.

Cherry, 37, who set 22 passing records at Hawaii before moving into the NFL in 1985, showed no emotion as Circuit Judge Marion Humphrey read the verdict.

It took 15 minutes for the jury of nine women and three men to decide Cherry’s sentence. He was convicted previously of felonies involving forgery and the fraudulent use of a credit card.

During the trial, the prosecution portrayed the victim, Jerri Cherry, as a woman afraid to leave her Jacksonville, Fla., home for fear her husband would find her. She had been staying with relatives at least two weeks before the Dec. 22, 1998 murder.

The day she died, her divorce lawyer served Cherry with a subpoena demanding financial information related to his NFL salary and pension.

``I’m glad the jury saw through all the smoke screens,″ deputy prosecuting attorney John Hout said. ``But even after all this, it still doesn’t take away what happened.″

Neither Cherry nor his lawyer, Dale Adams, commented after he was led from the courtroom. Cherry has 30 days to appeal.

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