Billy Adams trial: Tampa rapper found not guilty of double murder in recording studio

The fate of a Tampa rapper charged with two first-degree murders and burglary was only in the hands of a jury for a few hours Friday before they came to a decision.

Billy Adams was accused of killing two men at a home recording studio in Lutz in November 2020. 

Prosecutors said Adams is a cold-blooded killer. Adams, who took the stand in his own defense during the trial, said he was in fear for his life and had to defend himself when he shot and killed Trevon Albury and Daniel Thompson.

The jury believed him. 

They began deliberating just after lunchtime Friday and before 6 p.m., they had a verdict – not guilty.

During the trial, the man who owned the backyard recording studio, Joseph Meeks, testified that Adams showed up with the victims that night. 

Adams testified that he barely knew the men, calling them acquaintances. 

Meeks said Adams was there to record. As the session wrapped up, he heard two gun shots.

"I turned around, and I saw he had a gun in his hand and he said they were going to rob [sic]," recalled Meeks.

Adams contradicted Meeks, saying he did not arrive with Albury and Thompson. At one point, Adams thought the two men were acting strange, gesturing to one another.

"Mr. Albury points a gun to the back of Mr. Meeks' head," Adams told the jury. "Mr. Meeks is at the computer, his back is turned. He doesn't know what’s going on."

That’s when Adams said he sprang into action.

"I pulled out my gun and I shot Mr. Albury in fear of Mr. Meeks being shot or myself being shot," explained Adams. "Mr. Thompson grabs my gun and tries to take my gun from me, and I was in fear that he would have shot me, so I shot Mr. Thompson." 

Defense attorneys typically hesitate to put murder defendants on the stand, but Adams' story compelled the jury. He was allowed to leave the Hillsborough County court a free man.