White man indicted for killing black teen playing rap music

Michael Adams faces first-degree charges in the July 4 killing of 17-year-old Elijah Al-Amin at a convenience store in suburban Phoenix.

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Outside a gas station in Phoenix, Arizona

A makeshift memorial for Elijah Al-Amin is set up at a local Circle K store for the death of the stabbing victim Tuesday, July 9, 2019, in Peoria, Ariz. Peoria police arrested 27-year-old Michael Adams on suspicion of first-degree murder in the killing of 17-year-old Al-Amin, who was stabbed in his throat and back inside the store on July 4. Hundreds of people including a presidential candidate are speaking out on Twitter about the killing of a 17-year-old Muslim youth at a suburban convenience store by a white man who said he was threatened by the boy’s rap music.

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

PHOENIX — An Arizona prosecutor says a grand jury has returned an indictment charging a white man with first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of a black youth for playing rap music he said he thought was threatening.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said Thursday Michael Adams faces charges in the July 4 killing of 17-year-old Elijah Al-Amin at a convenience store in suburban Phoenix.

He did not directly address claims by Adams’ attorney that his client is mentally ill. He also didn’t comment on how Adams’ release from prison on a prior assault conviction was handled. The release occurred two days before the convenience store stabbing.

He sought to clarify that Arizona does not have a statute on hate crime, but noted stiffer penalties can be imposed at sentencing.

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