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Adams convicted of manslaughter
Former UNLV star facing life sentence
Posted: Tuesday September 29, 1998 01:12 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Richie Adams, a former UNLV basketball star who was convicted of manslaughter in the 1996 beating death of a 15-year-old girl, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison when sentenced October 26.
A jury deliberated for nearly four days before finding the 35-year-old Adams guilty Saturday of a lesser charge of first-degree manslaughter in the beating death of Norma Rodriguez. The high school student was found October 15, 1996, in the hallway of a housing project in the Bronx where both she and Adams had lived.
Adams, who has been in and out of jail for several felony convictions since the 1980s, was once considered a defensive whiz at UNLV. He played under coach Jerry Tarkanian and was known for his shot-blocking and rebounding talents. The 6-foot-9 Adams was nicknamed "The Animal" because of his intense playing style.
But "The Animal's" trouble with the law began in 1985, a day after he was drafted by the Washington Bullets, when he was arrested for stealing a car.
He was jailed three times on robbery and grand larceny convictions before being charged with second-degree murder in Rodriguez's death. Police said a bloody size 13 1/2 basketball-shoe print led them to Adams, who was living with his mother one floor below where the high school freshman was found savagely beaten.
The medical examiner testified that Rodriguez died of head and neck injuries -- a result of being repeatedly stomped upon.
Rodriguez's family said at the time of his arrest that Adams had stalked the teenager and attacked her because she had rejected his advances.
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