Serial killer ‘Crazy Mike’ avoids death penalty

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A Michigan man who said he killed as many as 16 people while hopping trains between the East Coast and West coast will spend the rest of his life in a Virginia prison.

Henrico County Judge Richard S. Wallerstein, Jr. sentenced 49-year-old Michael “Crazy Mike” Adams to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Adams struck a plea deal to avoid the death penalty.

Michael Elijah Adams

Michael Elijah Adams

Adams admitted to beating fellow train hopper Robert Chassereau to death with a two-by-four in 2006.

Chassereau's body was found in a hobo camp near the ACCA train switching yard near the Bryan Park Interchange in Henrico.

The murder might have gone unsolved, but Adams admitted to that killing and others after he was sentenced for the murder of another train hopper in California.

Adams told CBS 6 reporter Mark Holmberg in a jailhouse interview he'd killed more than 16 fellow drifters, drug users, and hustlers.

We asked Henrico Commonwealth Attorney Shannon Taylor why she agreed to a plea deal of life in prison instead of seeking the death penalty.

"While it is true that there is some suggestion that this individual was involved in other homicides, sometimes when we are recognizing that we have this person off the streets for the rest of their natural life, then perhaps we can maybe do the next best thing, which is give some families some closure," she said.

After the sentencing, Robert Chassereau’s oldest brother Joseph said he hoped Adams’ time in prison will not last long.

"He'll mess up with the wrong people in there," Chassereau said, "and someone will take care of him."