A teen boy was murdered inside an Arizona convenience store — and it was all over rap music.
Michael Adams, 27, was arrested on July 4 for allegedly stabbing 17-year-old Elijah Al-Min in the throat, according to Fox 10 in Phoenix.
As Adams fled the scene, Al-Min managed to make it outside and receive CPR from police; he was later taken to the hospital before he died there, reports the Arizona Republic.
Adams reportedly told police he felt unsafe when he heard Al-Min’s rap music playing because he had been attacked by people in the past who had played rap music. Even though he admitted Al-Min said nothing to provoke him, he wanted to be “proactive rather than reactive,” according to police records obtained by the Arizona Republic.
Police arrested Adams for suspicion of first-degree premeditated murder.
Adams’ attorney, Jacie Cotterell, said he suffers from a mental illness and wasn’t given the proper medication. She insisted he had “no way to care for himself” when he was released from prison for committing assault 48 hours prior to the incident.
“It’s too easy as a society to shake our head and say well, they committed a crime, it’s too bad, we have jails for that when really, what they need is treatment,” Cotterell said during a court appearance, according to Fox 10.
Cotterell later told Good Evening Arizona, “This is a disabled person and he’s been released into the world and left to fend for himself, two days later — this is where we are.”
Bill Lamoreaux, a spokesman with the Arizona Department of Correction, however, had written in a statement that Adams “was not designated seriously ill” and was given contacts to give him care, housing and welfare, according to the Arizona Republic.
The story has caused controversy as the hashtag #JusticeForElijah started trending on Twitter. People questioned this mental illness defense, saying this line of defense would be accepted very differently if the suspect and victim’s race was switched, according to Newsweek.
“[G]oing in the store, follow him behind the store, and stab him, I don’t care what mental issues you have — you knew right from wrong,” Al-Min’s father said in an interview with 12 News in Phoenix. “As far as I’m concerned, he knew right from wrong.”
Adams has previously been convicted of theft, shoplifting, marijuana violation, disorderly conduct, assault with a weapon and aggravated assault of a correctional employee, The Arizona Republic reported.
Adams is being held on a $1 million bond and is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing in court July 15.