Spokane teens to be tried as adults for death of WW II vet
Two Spokane teens will be charged as adults for last week’s beating death of 88-year-old World War II veteran Delbert Belton.
The boys are facing first-degree murder and first-degree robbery charges.
Monday police released new details about the suspects, who are both 16, Demetrius Glenn and Kenan Kinard. The police chief says the motive of the attack was not racial, it was robbery.
“Today, I would like to assure our community that the two individuals we believe were responsible for the robbery and murder of Mr. Belton have been taken into custody,” says Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub.
The news conference was streamed online in part because of the national and international attention the case has received.
“One of these individuals was pretty much a standout basketball player and because nobody wrapped their arms around him, nobody cared enough about him, he’s now going to face murder and robbery charges,” Straub says. “He’s looking at the rest of his life being significantly affected, if not destroyed, by this.”
Three other juveniles were arrested in connection with Kinard, who went into hiding after Wednesday’s attack on Belton. All three are charged with “rendering criminal assistance to evade police apprehension.”
The police chief also said that it’s clear the elderly victim tried to fight back against his two teen attackers who were allegedly beating him with flashlights.
“I’m not being critical of Mr. Belton. I would encourage individuals to fight back, and he should have, but it shouldn’t have happened to begin with, right? But I think a robbery just got worse,” says Straub.
A military funeral for Belton is scheduled for noon Thursday at Greenwood Memorial Terrace in Spokane.
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On August 19, Kenan Adams Kinard posted a picture of himself on his Facebook page wearing a patriotic red, white and blue bandana on his head.
Two days later, police say the 16-year-old Spokane boy took part in the deadly beating of a World War II veteran.
Delbert Belton, 88, who was shot in the leg during the pivotal battle of the Pacific campaign, was savagely beaten with flashlights in the parking lot of his regular bar in Spokane last Wednesday.
He died from serious head injuries the next day at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.
One of the teen suspects, 16-year-old Demetrius Glenn, surrendered last week and has been charged with first degree robbery and first degree murder.
Monday morning, Spokane Police Major Crimes Detectives arrested the second suspect, Kenan Kinard.
Police say Kinard was taken into custody without incident. Three other young people, who were with him at an apartment, were also taken into custody and charged with rendering criminal assistance.
Kinard’s own Facebook page has become a place for his friends to defend him, and others to post their disgust with what he’s accused of doing.
Brandee writes, “You don’t deserve to wear red white and blue, vet murderer!”
“You disgust me. You killed my grandpa the man I loved the man I looked up too,” writes Cheyanne Campbell, “He was a good person inside and out.”
“They saw a vulnerable old man and decided he was a good mark,” writes Diana Hanson. “They knew they were beating the hell out of someone who once defended our (and their) country and who was utterly defenseless. That was cowardly and sickening. Now he is hiding from what he did. It won’t go away or blow over. He needs to turn himself in and take what’s coming to both of them.”
A few friends support the teen saying he just “screwed up” or “made a bad choice.”
Kinard has had a few run-ins with the law. The Spokesman Review reports he was convicted of third-degree theft and fourth-degree assault in June.
The other teen who surrendered last week has an extensive juvenile criminal history which includes malicious mischief, fourth-degree assault, driving without a license and riot with a deadly weapon charges.
The victim’s family spoke out about Belton over the weekend, revealing graphic details about the elderly man’s final moments.
Belton’s daughter-in-law, Bobbie Belton, told KREM-TV that the suspects beat him to death with “great big heavy flashlights.”
“The doctors said he was bleeding from all parts of his face,” she says.
“He fought for this country,” said Belton’s sister, Alberta Tosh. “Then he comes home and a couple of creeps kill him in the worst way.”
The veteran, also known affectionately as “Shorty,” was wounded in the Battle of Okinawa. They say he was shot in the leg but heroically continued to fight.
By LINDA THOMAS