By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Michael Adams, a Rockville man who murdered a popular Washington area trainer, was sentenced to life in prison yesterday in a Montgomery County courtroom.
Adams, 45, was found guilty last November of first-degree murder in the death of Jason Hadeed, 33. In addition to the life sentence for that charge, Adams also received a consecutive 20-year term, with 10 years suspended, for the charge of using a handgun to commit a crime of violence.
Adams addressed the court prior to receiving his sentence from Circuit Court Judge William J. Rowan III. He spoke uneasily in broken sentences with a trembling voice.
"I wish I could go back to that tragic night and make changes," Adams said in court, "but I know I can't."
Hadeed was regarded as a rising star nationally in the training business after founding Elite Athlete Training Systems in 2000. He worked with dozens of area athletes, particularly high school football players, and spoke before large audiences frequently on training skills.
Hadeed had given Adams at least $30,000 as part of an illegal gambling enterprise Adams had created in 2006. Hadeed went to Adams's Rockville apartment at about 10 p.m. on Feb. 8, 2008, and a heated exchange ensued, according to court testimony. According to the testimony, Adams shot Hadeed three times in the back, the last two shots coming more than 100 feet from the front door of Adams's residence on King Farm Boulevard. Adams then fled to his mother's home in Vienna before turning himself in to police an hour later.
"That's cold-blooded," Paul Hadeed, Jason's father, told the court. "That was execution at its best."
Assistant State's Attorney Stephen H. Chaikin, who sought a life sentence without the possibility of parole for Adams, told the court that Adams was "a sad, lonely, angry con man," after his dream of becoming a professional golfer ended in 1996 when he could no longer gain sponsorship money. Adams had numerous bouts with depression, according to testimony, and defense attorney Bruce Marcus told the court Adams's "life [had] come off the rails."
Adams "was living the con," Chaikin said. "Jason was blowing the whistle. The only way to get Jason to stop was to kill him."
Adams's mother, sister and brother each asked the court to grant leniency to Michael Adams. In his remarks, Rowan cited "evidence of [Adams's] diminished mental health capacity" in deciding not to sentence Adams to life without parole.
"Jason Hadeed was a terrific young man," Rowan said, "and his death, in an understatement, was a loss to the community. . . . But only our maker knows what happened in those four or five minutes."