Volume 74, Number 53 | May 11 - 17 , 2005

Villager photo by Clayton Patterson

Memorial messages, flowers and candles for Robert Adams were left outside 68 E. Third St. last week.

Neighbors remember slain teenager as a ‘good kid’

By Lincoln Anderson

A suspect in the killing of Robert Adams, a 16-year-old E. Third St. resident who was stabbed to death on the Lower East Side on April 29, turned himself in to authorities last week. Angel Suarez, 19, walked into the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office at 1 Hogan Pl. last Friday where he was arrested. Suarez’s address was given as 77 Columbia St. in Masaryk Towers, a Mitchell-Lama complex on the Lower East Side.

According to Jennifer Kushner, a spokesperson for D.A. Robert Morgenthau, Suarez and Adams knew each other and “had a disagreement over $45 for the purchase of marijuana owed to the defendant.” Kushner said Adams was “ambushed” by Suarez, who stabbed him three times. Adams tried to run away, but collapsed on the corner at Chrystie and Delancey Sts. and died later in the hospital. Adams, who was wearing a pinstriped Alex Rodriguez Yankees jersey and was found without a wallet, was unidentified for about a day.

Newspaper reports over the weekend said that Adams’s family disputed the district attorney’s and police’s account of Adams being killed for owing someone money. Instead, they are reported to be saying that Adams was to testify in court regarding a cellphone robbery in which he was arrested. Kushner said she didn’t have any information regarding an arrest for a cellphone robbery or Adams testifying in court, and that all the D.A. was making public was what the assistant district attorney on the case has said in court so far.

Morton Katz, Suarez’s attorney, said, “My client is a nice young man. He’s never been in trouble before. He was doing volunteer work at St. Barnabas Hospital and was hoping to get a job there.” He said Suarez turned himself in when they learned the D.A. was looking for him in connection with the murder.

Katz claimed he is investigating whether Adams was a member of the Bloods gang and is awaiting the medical examiner’s report, which could indicate whether Adams had any identifying gang markings.

“Maybe the person who did do it is gang related,” Katz said.

However, friends and neighbors last week remembered Adams as a “good kid” who would look out for smaller children on his block and was respectful of people. Memorial placards, flowers and votive candles, were left outside 68 E. Third St., a city-owned building where he lived with his foster parents, Christina and Jose Cap, who are originally from Argentina, a sister and Cap’s children. “ROB” was spelled out in red carnations on a background of white carnations. One friend called Adams by a nickname, “Whitebread,” in his message.

“He was a very good kid,” said a woman who gave her name as Melissa who lives in the building. “He used to baby sit for my son. He had four stepbrothers who loved him to bits. He was very respectful.

“You see this tear in this eye? This tear is for Robert,” said her son, Remington.

Melissa said Adams had gone to Seward Park High School and the Neighborhood School just down the block.

Marco Tercero, who lives next door, said Adams used to watch his small son on the sidewalk. Tercero recalled how once when he had seen Adams hanging upside down on a building scaffold, he told him it was dangerous and that he should get off. Where other kids might have flipped him off, Adams listened to him.

“I thought, ‘You know what? This is a pretty good kid, he got off, he listened,’” Tercero said. Tercero said he never saw Adams cursing anyone and that he was “entrepreneurial,” offering to shovel out people’s cars when it snowed.

One neighbor said he believed Adams’s great-grandfather was a famous American playwright at the turn of the century.

Calls to Adams’s foster parents’ home were not returned.

At the Provenzano Lanza funeral home on Second Ave., Samantha, who was manning the front desk and asked that her last name not be printed, said Adams’s memorial service was very heavily attended. Adams was cremated, she said.

“There were so many kids here. It was unbelievable, overpacked,” she said.

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