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Tampa rapper to remain jailed while awaiting 2nd murder trial

Attorneys for Billy Adams III didn’t contest his detention, but sought a judge’s order restricting public information about the case.
 
Billy Adams III appears in a pretrial detention hearing Monday in Tampa after being accused of fatally shooting 22-year-old Alana Sims.
Billy Adams III appears in a pretrial detention hearing Monday in Tampa after being accused of fatally shooting 22-year-old Alana Sims. [ ANGELICA EDWARDS | Times ]
Published Feb. 13, 2023|Updated Feb. 13, 2023

TAMPA — Billy Adams III, the hip-hop artist accused of a fatal shooting for the second time after an earlier acquittal, will remain jailed until he can face trial on charges that he killed Alana Sims and caused the death of her unborn child.

In a court hearing Monday, attorneys for Adams chose not to challenge a request from prosecutors to have Adams detained until trial. Hillsborough County Judge Margaret Taylor granted the state’s request, finding that Adams poses a threat of harm to the community based on his new charges.

But the bulk of the routine hearing Monday focused on the heavy media attention the case has generated.

Assistant Public Defender Jamie Kane asked the judge to bar the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office, Tampa police and Hillsborough Clerk of Court from releasing information to protect Adams’ right to a fair trial.

Kane cited more than a dozen recent news articles — mostly from local and national TV outlets, along with the Daily Mail and People magazine — that detailed allegations that Adams shot and killed Sims three days after a jury found him not guilty in an unrelated fatal double shooting.

Some reports contained information that Kane called “highly speculative” and “highly inaccurate.” He also accused police of dispersing “gossip” that could create a threat to the impartiality of a future jury.

“We don’t control what the press says,” Kane said.

“Nobody does,” the judge noted.

Assistant Public Defender Jamie Kane speaks to Billy Adams III during a pretrial detention hearing at the Hillsborough County Courthouse Annex on Monday in Tampa. Adams III is accused of fatally shooting 22-year-old Alana Sims while she was pregnant.
Assistant Public Defender Jamie Kane speaks to Billy Adams III during a pretrial detention hearing at the Hillsborough County Courthouse Annex on Monday in Tampa. Adams III is accused of fatally shooting 22-year-old Alana Sims while she was pregnant. [ ANGELICA EDWARDS | Times ]

Assistant State Attorney Teresa Hall defended comments that State Attorney Susan Lopez had made about the case. She also asserted that the office takes seriously a defendant’s rights to a fair trial while also abiding by laws that regulate the release of public information.

“This office does everything in its power to assure that every defendant receives a fair trial,” the prosecutor said.

The judge denied the defense’s request but said they can raise it again in the future if there are new developments. She also cautioned the state and other authorities to be mindful of what they release publicly.

Related: Jury finds Tampa rapper not guilty in fatal double shooting

Adams, a hip-hop artist who performs as Ace NH, was found not guilty on Jan. 27 after a weeklong trial in which he took the witness stand and admitted that he’d shot Trevon Albury and Daniel Thompson in 2020 during a late-night music session in a Lutz recording studio. He claimed that the shooting was in self-defense and that he’d heard the pair talking about robbing the studio’s owner moments before Albury pulled a gun.

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Adams was free on bail for most of the two years that the prior case was pending. But as a condition of his release from jail, he was restricted from leaving his parents’ home, subject to the electronic monitoring of his movements and forbidden from possessing guns. Those restrictions went away when he was acquitted.

Sims, who was pregnant, was found dead late Jan. 30, lying near the SUV she’d been driving on the 10700 block of Pictorial Park Drive in New Tampa. She’d been shot in her head. Her young son was found asleep and unharmed in a car seat inside the vehicle.

Related: Tampa rapper claimed self-defense in new killing. He said the same in double murder acquittal.

Police arrested Adams last week on the new murder charge in her death. Court and police records released after his arrest indicate that he no longer wanted her in his life. When questioned, he first denied that he’d seen Sims recently, but later claimed she’d pulled a gun on him and that he shot her in self-defense, according to a court paper filed by the state.

Antonia Dudley, 24, of Tampa, clutches a pamphlet remembering her friend, Alana Sims, on what would have been her 23rd birthday, during the pretrial detention hearing of Billy Adams III at the Hillsborough Courthouse Annex on Feb. 13, 2023, in Tampa. Billy Adams III is accused of fatally shooting 22-year-old Alana Sims while she was pregnant.
Antonia Dudley, 24, of Tampa, clutches a pamphlet remembering her friend, Alana Sims, on what would have been her 23rd birthday, during the pretrial detention hearing of Billy Adams III at the Hillsborough Courthouse Annex on Feb. 13, 2023, in Tampa. Billy Adams III is accused of fatally shooting 22-year-old Alana Sims while she was pregnant. [ ANGELICA EDWARDS | Times ]

Antonia Dudley, a friend of Sims, was among the spectators who attended Monday’s hearing.

“She was like family to me,” she said. “I feel so bad for her family. I can only imagine what it’s like to lose a daughter.”

Dudley carried with her the program from Sims’ funeral, which was Sunday. Monday would have been Sims’ 23rd birthday.