SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Bail was set at $3 million Tuesday for a 16-year-old boy who is charged with killing a World War II veteran and contends the man was beaten to death because he shorted the teen and another boy on a sale of crack cocaine.
The allegation was sharply refuted by friends of Delbert Belton, the 88-year-old veteran known as "Shorty."
"Shorty never did no drugs," said Ted Denison, a friend who added that the defendants were "smearing his name."
The drug-dealing claim is in a letter police found after they arrested Kenan Adams-Kinard early Monday morning, Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell said during Tuesday's court hearing.
Haskell said the letter contends that Adams-Kinard and Demetrius L. Glenn, 16, were buying crack cocaine from Belton when the attack occurred Aug. 21. That notion was scoffed at by family members and friends of Belton, who was known as Shorty because he was little more than 5 feet tall.
Haskell did not return several telephone calls seeking additional information on the drug-dealing claim.
Both teens are charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery. The charges carry a potential life sentence.
Police said Belton, who was wounded in the Battle of Okinawa, was beaten in his vehicle as he waited for a friend in the parking lot of an Eagles Lodge in north Spokane. Officers found Belton with serious head injuries, and his wallet had been taken. He died in the hospital Thursday.
The teens will be tried as adults, and Spokane County District Judge Debra Hayes on Tuesday ordered Adams-Kinard moved from a juvenile jail to the Spokane County Jail.