Out of prison two days, man kills 17-year-old over rap song, Arizona cops say

Michael Paul Adams
Michael Paul Adams Maricopa County Sheriff's Department

A man just out of prison accused of killing a 17-year-old boy by slitting his throat Thursday blames the teen’s rap music, KSAZ reported.

Michael Paul Adams, 27, told police he killed Elijah Alamin at a Circle K convenience store in Peoria, Arizona, because of the rap music playing in Alamin’s vehicle, The Arizona Republic reported.

Court documents say Adams told detectives “rap music made him feel unsafe because in the past, he was attacked by people who listened to that music genre,” KTVK reported.

He said he felt he needed to “protect himself and the community” from Alamin, court documents say, according to the station.

Adams, who had been released from a Yuma, Arizona, prison two days earlier, lunged at Alamin with a pocket knife, stabbing him and then slitting his throat, at 1:42 a.m. Thursday, The Arizona Republic reported.

Police found Alamin, a Glendale resident, face-down by the gas pumps outside the Circle K, KNXV reported. He died at a hospital a short time later.

Officers found Adams walking away from the store in bloody clothes with the pocket knife, The Arizona Republic reported.

Areanna Ivery said Alamin, a former co-worker at Taco Bell, had a passion for rap music, KTVK reported.

“He talked about rap music all the time. He loved rap artists,” she said, according to the station. “He just always said that rap artists spoke to him, that (rap) just gave him a sense of purpose, that he went through a lot of the things that (the artists) went through.”

Defense attorney Jacie Cotterell accused state prison officials of setting Adams up to fail by releasing him without access to mental health resources, The Arizona Republic reported.

“They released him to the streets with no medication, no meds, with no way to care for himself,” Cotterell said in court, KSAZ reported. “This is a failing of the Department of Corrections. This is easily foreseeable and that is an issue.”

Adams may have been on his way to visit his daughter after getting out of prison when “something happened” at the convenience store, said Macey Adams, his sister, KNXV reported.

“I understand what he did was terrible,” she said, according to the station. “I want (people) to understand that it wasn’t who he is, and he was experiencing mental health issues.”

But Mariah Alamin called those comments “excuses” for her brother’s slaying, KNXV reported.

“The fact that someone is trying to claim that that’s the reason why my brother’s life was taken is just an excuse and it doesn’t help, it doesn’t lend any type of consolement, it doesn’t help at all,” she said, according to the station. “I feel like the 17 years he spent on this Earth he made the most of it and he did more for anybody than most people do in their whole lifetime.”

The Arizona Department of Corrections said in a statement that Adams had completed his prison term and the agency had “no further legal authority” over him, KTVK reported.

The hashtag #JusticeForElijah is now trending on Twitter in connection with the case, Newsweek reported.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.