Judge delays file release in Shorty Belton murder investigation

SPOKANE, Wash. - Belton murder investigation file vo

A judge has ruled to delay the release 1,500 pages of documents related to the beating death of WWII veteran Delbert "Shorty" Belton.

The 60 day delay ordered by Judge Annette Plese Wednesday came as a result of the attorney for one of the two defendants, Chris Phelps, arguing against the release of information about the Spokane Police Departments case against his client, Demetrius Glenn.

Several news organizations, including KXLY, have filed public information requests asking for the release of the entire investigative file from Shorty Belton's homicide case.

Even though Glenn turned himself in shortly after Belton died, Phelps, who was hired by Glenn's family, has a tough fight on his hands and he's worried Glenn can't get a fair trial if his jury has already heard too much about the case from the media.

"It's like un-ringing a bell. Jurors will come in and if they've heard as case in the media or heard specific facts in the case or what was reported as being factual that's in the back of their mind," Phelps said.

To keep his client's case from being detailed in the media, Phelps asked Judge Plese to block the release of the investigative file. Phelps said he respect's the public's right to know but feels Glenn's right to a fair trial and whether the 16-year-old will spend decades behind bars is more important.

"Eventually the whole file will be available. But is it necessary to have it right now? Or can you wait three months and have it after the trial or as documents are disclosed in pleadings and so forth so I've got to ask the judge to exercise her discretion," Phelps said.

In October, KXLY's public records request triggered the release of a handwritten letter in which Glenn's co-defendant, Kenan Adams Kinard, allegedly confessed to punching Belton during what he claimed was a drug deal gone bad.

Phelps said that's an example of how just one piece of paper from the investigative file can taint the jury's mind months before the trial even gets underway.

Plese agreed to block the release of information for 60 days, giving defense attorneys the time to review all 1,500 pages of documents related to the case.