Billy Bennett Adams III, a hip-hop artist who performs as Ace NH and who was acquitted last month of a fatal double shooting, was arrested again Wednesday, this time on charges related to the death of a pregnant Tampa woman.
Adams, 25, killed Alana Sims, 22, on Jan. 30 and left her beside her parked SUV in a New Tampa subdivision called Easton Park, the Tampa Police Department said Wednesday. Her toddler son was found unharmed, sleeping in a car seat in the vehicle.
Adams, once again, is facing a first-degree murder charge. He also faces a charge of killing an unborn child by injury to the mother, police said.
Sims’ family publicly confirmed that she is the victim in the case.
Tampa police Major Mike Stout said in a news conference Wednesday afternoon that Sims had been “lured” to what was said to be a party to celebrate Adams’ acquittal. She considered Adams to be her boyfriend, Stout said, and believed he was the father of her unborn child.
A passerby found her at about 10 p.m. lying by the roadside in the 10700 block of Pictorial Park Drive.
She was shot, Stout said. She was five months pregnant. It is unclear if Adams was indeed the father.
Police believe the motive was that Adams didn’t want to be in Sims’ life anymore, Stout said.
When detectives first questioned him, Adams told them he hadn’t seen Sims in a while, didn’t know if he could be the father of her child and hadn’t heard she was dead, Stout said. He denied being in the area where she was shot. But police said they obtained video showing his car near the crime scene.
Police said he later admitted to the shooting. Further details about the investigation were not immediately available.
It took the panel of six men and six women about four hours to acquit Adams of two counts of first-degree murder. They apparently heeded arguments that Adams killed Trevon Albury and Daniel Thompson in self-defense.
It was a stunning conclusion to a weeklong trial that Hillsborough Circuit Judge Christopher Sabella said was “at the very least a close call.”
“The jury did find that you are not criminally responsible for that, but I certainly hope that you find yourself in the future never in a situation that may involve anything like this,” Sabella told Adams after the jury’s verdict.
The judge told Adams to stay out of trouble. “I don’t ever want to see you back here in this courthouse,” he said.
A pivotal moment in the trial came when Adams took the witness stand and calmly explained why he killed Albury and Thompson.
He described how a late-night music session in a small Lutz recording studio turned tense when he overheard the pair talk about robbing the studio’s owner, Joseph Meeks.
He said he saw Albury pull a gun and point it at Meeks, who sat unaware of the danger.
“I pulled out my gun and I shot Mr. Albury,” Adams said, “in fear for Mr. Meeks being shot or myself being shot.”
Thompson then reached for Adams’ gun, he said. Adams shot him twice in the face.
“I was in fear that he would have shot me or Mr. Meeks,” Adams said. “So I shot Mr. Thompson, back to back.”
Adams was free on bail for most of the two years that the earlier murder case was pending, but he was restricted from leaving his parents’ New Tampa home and subject to the electronic monitoring of his movements. He also was forbidden from possessing guns and had to turn over his concealed weapons permit. Those restrictions ceased when he was found not guilty.
Had the jury convicted him, Adams would have received a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Instead, he walked out of court that day with his attorneys, escorted by sheriff’s deputies.
Adams, who has more than 30,000 followers on Instagram, released an album on Feb. 1 titled “Underground Icon.” Its cover included an image of a news story headline about his previous murder case.
On Wednesday, his Instagram page had been made private.
A Tampa police news release quoted Hillsborough State Attorney Susan Lopez saying that her office had worked closely with the department since the night of Sims’ death.
“While we respect the verdict of the jury in the prior case, we disagreed with it and that is why we prosecuted him,” Lopez said in the release. “We will continue to work with (the Tampa Police Department) to prosecute him for these latest crimes.”
Correction: Alana Sims was killed Jan. 30. A previous version of this story gave an incorrect date.