Michael Paul Adams, 27, was arrested after he confessed to police that he slit Elijah Al-Amin’s throat because he felt threatened when the 17-year-old was listening to rap music in a Circle K parking lot at 1:30 a.m. Adams has a criminal record and now concerned citizens are calling for the killing to be recognized as a hate crime. Here’s what you need to know about Michael Paul Adams.
1. Michael Paul Adams Confessed to Stabbing Elijah Al-Amin Because His Music Made Him Feel Unsafe. Al-Amin Had Just Gotten Off Work, Where He Was Saving Money To Buy His Own Car.
Early Thursday morning around 1:30 a.m., Elijah Al-Amin, a black teenager, listening to rap music in his car outside the Circle K. Surveillance footage showed Adams, a white male, following Al-Amin when he went inside the Circle K and lunging at him, Phoenix New Times reported. Police reports indicated that Al-Amin was stabbed in the right side of his neck in front of a soda machine inside the Circle K. He was found lying face down by the fuel pumps outside the store and died an hour after arriving at a nearby hospital, AZ Family reported.
Michael Paul Adams told Peoria police that Al-Amin’s rap music made him feel “unsafe.” He said that because he was attacked in the past by people listening to rap music, he had to be “proactive rather than reactive,” Phoenix New Times reported. He told police that Al-Amin “did not do anything to threaten him.”
Al-Amin’s mother, Serina Rides, told Fox 10 that her son had also worked at Subway and was saving up to buy a car. He was looking forward to his senior year in high school.
His dad said that his son had a lot of dreams. He had gone to Circle K after getting off work at Subway at 11:30 p.m. and was planning to meet his girlfriend. He was stabbed to death just two hours later, only two weeks away from his 18th birthday.
Areanna Ivery, a colleague who had worked with Al-Amin at a local Taco Bell, told AZ Family that Al-Amin loved rap artists. “He just always said that rap artists spoke to him, [it] just gave him a sense of purpose, that he went through a lot of the things that [the artists] went through.”
2. Adams Said People Who Listen to Rap Music Are a Danger to the Community
Police records indicated that Adams said he had been “attacked by people (Black, Hispanics, and Native American) who listen to RAP music.” He said anyone who listens to rap music is a threat to him and the community at large.
3. Adams’ Lawyer Said He Was Mentally Ill, But Officials Disputed that Claim
Adams’ lawyer, Jacie Cotterell, told local news that Adams was a mentally ill person who was “released into the world and left to fend for himself.” In an initial court appearance, Cotterell said her client was released without medication or a courtesy ride to get mental health services, even though he was on mental health probation, AZ Family reported.
But Bill Lamoreaux, spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Corrections, told Phoenix New Times that this wasn’t the case. He said Adams “was not designated seriously mentally ill.”The Arizona Department of Corrections’ full statement reads:
By law, Inmate Adams was released from ADC custody on July 2 on an absolute discharge, after completing his prison sentence. Arizona and/or federal privacy laws preclude the Department from disclosing specific confidential medical information. Prior to his release, Inmate Adams was provided contact information for services in the community such as continuing care, housing, welfare as well as other community resources. He was not designated seriously mentally ill (SMI).
Upon release, he was provided transportation from ASPC-Yuma to Maricopa County, after which he was no longer under the Department’s legal jurisdiction and the Department had no further legal authority over him.
The tragic death is terrible, and Mr. Adams will have to answer for his alleged actions.
Court records obtained by the Phoenix New Times showed that Adams was not labeled as mentally disturbed when he was arrested and charged with murder in the first degree for Al-Amin’s death.
4. Adams Had Been Arrested Multiple Times Before, Including for Attacking Others with a Deadly Weapon
According to court records found by Fox 10, Adams was arrested twice before for attacking strangers with a deadly weapon. Adams had just served more than two years for aggravated assault and removing a theft-detection device. He had been released from the Arizona State Prison Complex on Tuesday when the crime occurred less than two days later, Phoenix New Times reported.
In fact, court records show numerous previous arrests and cases involving a Michael Paul Adams with the same birthdate as in Adams’ arrest record. One record shows a Michael Paul Adams charged with a marijuana violation and removing a theft detection advice in August 2016. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge in both cases.
Another charge from September 2016 shows a charge involving removal of a theft detection device and an intent to shoplift. One was dismissed due to pleading on the other count, and the other was a guilty plea for a reduced charge. Another marijuana violation was incurred in June 2016.
On November 1, 2017, Michael Paul Adams was charged for disorderly conduct and assault causing fear of physical injury. He pleaded guilty in September 2018. A charge of aggravated assault against a correctional employee was entered on March 28, 2018 and he pleaded guilty.
5. Adams’ Next Hearing Is Scheduled for July 15
Adams has a hearing scheduled for July 15. He’s been charged with one count of first degree murder, and Amanda Steele of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office told Phoenix New Times that they were reviewing the case.