July 08, 2019
A man arrested on suspicion of killing a 17-year-old boy in an Arizona convenience store last week says that he killed the teenager, who did not say or do anything to threaten him, because he was listening to rap music, police said.
Man says he killed black teen for listening to rap music. Activists want #JusticeforElijah
The suspect, Michael Paul Adams, 27, admitted stabbing the teenager at 1:42 a.m. Thursday after he heard him playing rap music in his vehicle in a parking lot at a Circle K in Peoria, Arizona, according to police records filed in Arizona Superior Court.
Adams had just been released from the Arizona State Prison Complex in Yuma on Tuesday, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Adams told police rap music makes him feel "unsafe" because he had been attacked by people who listen to rap music in the past, records say. He also said people who listen to rap music are a threat to him and the community.
The suspect said he felt threatened by the music — not the teen himself — so he needed to be "proactive rather than reactive," police records said.
Surveillance footage shows the teen walking into the convenience store and Adams walking in a few seconds later. Adams walked around the store before lunging at the teen, according to records.

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Adams used his pocketknife to stab the teen in the back and slit his throat.
The teen ran out of the store before collapsing underneath the gas pump canopy, where police began CPR.
He was taken to a hospital, but died at 2:05 a.m., records say..
Adams was arrested on 67th Avenue near the Circle K, where he told an officer he was involved in the stabbing after being found with blood on his body and clothes.
Adams was booked into a Maricopa County jail on suspicion of first-degree premeditated murder and is being held on a $1 million bond. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing July 15.
Adams’ criminal history includes theft, shoplifting, marijuana violation, disorderly conduct, assault with a weapon and aggravated assault of a correctional employee, according to Maricopa County Superior Court records.
Jacie Cotterell, Adams’ lawyer, questioned his ability to access mental health services after he was released from prison. She said that he was “set up for failure."
Adams needed to see a mental health counselor but he was not given a way to access those resources, Cotterell said. “To be specific, he was given resources, he wasn’t given means to get to those resources,” she said.
She said Adams' family did not know where he was after his release. "He was on the street,” she said.
Bill Lamoreaux, a spokesman with the Arizona Department of Corrections, said in a written statement that Adams “was not designated seriously mentally ill.”
He said Adams was provided contacts for community services such as continuing care, housing and welfare.
Adams was provided transportation to Maricopa County from the Yuma prison. From there, "he was no longer under the Department’s legal jurisdiction and the Department had no further legal authority over him,” according to the statement from Lamoreaux.
Lamoreaux said Adams will face justice in court.
“The tragic death is terrible, and Mr. Adams will have to answer for his alleged actions,” he said in the statement.
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