PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- It's the kind of pain no parent should have to go through.

But Serina Rides doesn't have a choice after her 17-year-old son Elijah Al-Amin was murdered last week.

[WATCH: 'This definitely is a hate crime.']

"I just can't foresee how I'm supposed to do this every day, live without my son because somebody says they have a mental issue, because of my son's passion for music," Rides said.

[WATCH: County attorney discusses charges in death of 17-year-old at Peoria Circle K]

Elijah had stopped by a Circle K in Peoria in the early morning hours of Thursday, July 4.  Police said the teen was standing by a soda machine when Michael Adams stabbed him in the back and slit his throat.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Man out of prison for 2 days accused of stabbing 17-year-old to death at Peoria Circle K]

Adams reportedly told police he attacked the boy because Elijah was listening to rap music.

"This definitely is a hate crime," said Rides.  "The man specified exactly Hispanics, Native Americans, and African Americans. He specified rap music."

[RELATED: Study shows hate crime on the rise in Arizona]

Elijah's mom was visibly shaken as she talked about what happened, but she wants everyone to know how special Elijah was.

She described Elijah as a smart, caring young man, who loved to laugh, loved video games, and loved his family, always looking after his brothers and sisters.

"The world really missed out because that man took my son's life," said Rides.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery held a press conference Thursday morning addressing the charges for Adams. 

"Arizona law does not have a separate offense of hate crime," Montgomery said. 

[WATCH: Father gets emotional when talking about murdered teen son in Peoria]

Instead, Arizona's law dictates that after a person is convicted of a crime, prosecutors may show evidence that the crime was committed based on hate and the sentence for the crime can be enhanced based on that bias. 

"Arizona has chosen to keep it simple and straight forward for prosecutors to be able to convict someone of having committed a crime and then are able to use evidence of bias to increase the penalty," Montgomery said.

Montgomery was visibly emotional while talking about Elijah during the press conference saying that he is the father of a 16-year-old. 

"What makes this offense so tragic is we had a 17-year-old who did absolutely nothing. As a father myself of a 16-year-old, I can't imagine what this young man's family is going through and it is a significant loss to our community," Montgomery said.

Adams had just been released from prison and reportedly suffers from mental illness.

[RAW VIDEO: Michael Adams' initial court appearance]

Elijah's mom wonders: If Adams was so unstable and a threat to the community, why was he released without any medication or support from the state?

"I don't want any parent to suffer like this, like his father and I," Rides said. "The Department of Corrections needs to figure out how to process these people. Somebody has to be responsible for that. The hardest part is learning to live without my baby."

Rides said Elijah was going to be a senior at Apollo High School. She also said he was in ROTC and wanted to join the Marines.

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



Jason Barry is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports highlighting local restaurants with major health code violations.

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(39) comments


Can't be a hate crime if he liked doing it right ?


This tragedy could have been avoided if the victim obeyed the curfew laws in Peoria. 16-17 year olds are not allowed out in public between midnight and 5 am without an adult. Regardless of that, this is an awful tragedy that never should have happened and my heart breaks for the victim's family.


Agreed. Calling it a hate crime will get them less money. They should have blamed it on the DOC.


Lot of speculation regarding hate crime and racism (the usual genre). Nobody was there, nobody knows the details and real motivation, all a bunch of backseat closet racists that cannot realize you are one.


White guy, freshly released from prison, comes across the first black person he see's, claims this kids rap music "threatened" him so, out of fear, he cut him to death.. Are people too stupid too comprehend the obvious undertones of a white felon killing the first black person he sees, oh because "his music" was more threatening all that time in prison? Maybe the racist is a racist AND a lying piece of sh*t too? Have you thought of that much at least? yall are way too easily trolled if you can't figure this one out.


Obvious undertones? I believe the victim is Latino, not black. Mental health appears to be the contributing factor here and do you really want to compare homicide rates and demographics? How many black people have died at the hands of other black people since this one? Haven't heard or seen one in the news, because you ignore them. NO DOUBLE STANDARD B.S.


Not a hate crime.


Absolutely a hate crime. Scum murder should have been kept in a cage.


Wonder if this woman ever called it a hate crime when the Black plague of her own ilk commit heinous acts. I'll be not. Most likely she would say, right after her child commits murder, "my son would never do that, even as she allows him to prowl the late night streets committing mayhem.


It was a hate crime. This thing that killed this kid was nuts and just out of prison. Skinny white guy probably got beat on if not worse while locked up. He got out and took out his hatred of people of color on this kid. The thing that killed this kid should have been evaluated before being released. I hope that she and her family can find some peace in time. I don’t know how. This was awful.

Comment deleted.

Your a real piece of sh! t


why must we politicize this young man's death? the guy is obviously mentally ill. all it takes is for someone to look at these people on the street wrong. hopefully this guy gets locked up forever, so he is no longer a threat to anyone ever again.


Before anyone is released from prison they need to have a full psychological profile done.... This guy is a prime example of why!!! Also prisons need to become so violently strict that people should never come out


Hate Crimes are motivated by prejudice against someone's race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability -- To say "all crimes are hate crimes" shows how little you understand the meaning of US law.

Honk Honkler

We never seen to hear from the young man's father, why is that?


What difference does it make

JR in glendale

1. Why does AZFamily (and other media) refuse to identify at which Circle K in Peoria this alledged hate crime occurred? Why is this info being withheld? What's the big secret? [67th Ave & Peoria Ave, btw...since they won't tell you] 2. "Peoria prohibits anyone age 16 or 17 to be in public between midnight-5 a.m., seven days a week, unless accompanied by a legal guardian."


What is a 17 year old doing hanging out at Circle K in the Early hours of the AM? Why isn.t he at home with his parents? My curfew was 11 AM at 17, & was Not Hanging at Circle K blasting Rap Music. Sad & sorry for her loss, but she needs to take some Responsibility, too!


With that comment you are an a$$ hole. If you don’t know why you’re an a$$ hole, congratulations, put on the crown, because you are now king of the a$$ holes.


Aren’t all crimes basically hate crimes?



all premeditated murder requires hate. some came up with a definition, I don't care what it is. If he murdered the guy, he should be executed (following trial and appeal - hopefully within a year).


E is out of this evil, wicked and vile world. Hey, wait a minute. Out is how/ where were when got in ! [scared]


Your comment makes no sense


Unfortunately, none of his comments make sense.


Too bad there wasn't someone at that Circle K with a gun to shoot Michael Adams in the head and put his brains on the floor. Preferably before he murdered this kid but even after would have still been a good thing.


Before he murdered the young man? Nobody knew he was mentally ill...and to put his brains on the floor would have been the same situation with a different pos and a different victim so your comment is either not well thought out or just plain stupid...gee I wonder which! This wasnt a hate crime. This was an impulse kill by a mentally ill person.. WHY HASNT ANYONE REALISED THAT COMPASSION FOR ONE ANOTHER IS OUR NUMBER ONE AND STRONGEST INSTINCT AND IT IS SOMETHING AMAZING TO SEE PROOF OF THAT EVERY SINGLE TIME DOOKIE HITS THE FAN! THINK ABOUT AFTER 9/11..EVERYONE WAS THERE FOR ONE ANOTHER. EMBRACING HELPING AND SUPPORTING ONE ANOTHER. THERE WAS NO BLACK WHITE BROWN RED YELLOW OR PURPLE. WE WERE JUST A BUNCH OF PEOPLE DOING WHAT PEOPLE DO... MOST OF US HAVE THE COMPLAINTS ABOUT WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR COUNTRY AND THE PEOPLE WHO WANT THINGS LIKE THEY ARE DO A GOOD JOB OF KEEPING US AT WAR WITH EACH OTHER SO THAT ALL OF OUR COMPLAINTS CONTINUE TO GO UNHEARD AND WE THE PEOPLE STAY DOWN. Its wild that the wonderful gift of sight make us blind....


Your cap lock in on.


Ha Ha. Hillary lost.


If we execute the murderers (and you have to be crazy - temporary or all, to commit a premeditated murder), that would help the country... do it fast. (trial, conviction, appeal, & execution within 1 year).


Tacobooger, Was Hillary or Donald at the crime scene? Try to comment on the topic at hand. Might as well just say you like to wear bowling shoes, about as relevant as your posts.


Calm down there, Luna. We don't appreciate you foul mouthed people with all that "dookie" talk around here...




That would have been nice.


Absolutely a hate crime, committed by a felon with mental health issues along with prison yard mentality. Hope he fries this time, condolences to the family and friends.

TRUMP supporter

It is so sad she lost her son, but this is not classified as a hate crime. She just wants to file a $50 million lawsuit against DOC.


Here we go....


In the final analysis, EVERY murder is a crime of hate. If you feloniously take another person's life, you deserve to die. Period.


I agree, yet again, with you, obeylaws.

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