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.


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