SPOKANE, Wash. - Investigative reports released in relation to the killing of WWII veteran Delbert "Shorty" Belton are giving a behind the scenes look at how Spokane Police detectives tracked down the two teens suspected of beating Belton to death.
Detectives painstakingly searched for evidence in Shorty Belton's murder and found surveillance video that put both suspects at the scene.
One of the suspects alleged Belton, 88, was a drug dealer, but the reports indicated the exact opposite of that allegation, that there was nothing inside the man's car or background that suggested he was a drug dealer. In fact, detectives were contacted by one witness who said she heard the "drug dealer alibi" was conjured up by one of the suspects' friends in the hopes of sparing the teens the death penalty.
Belton's death still has all the hallmarks of a non-race related strong armed robbery. Scuff marks on his car show Belton was accosted outside his vehicle, shoved in the back seat and then beaten with fists and perhaps a flashlight, that was broken when police found it.
After he was arrested, police found fresh injuries on Kenan Adams-Kinard's hands and his right knuckles were scraped. Doctors said Belton was hit so hard, bones in his face were broken, and the repeated blows led to blood spatters on his straw hat.
The next day a neighbor found the contents of Belton's wallet discarded in his garden along with a clipping from Belton's wife's obituary.
Newly released surveillance video shows co-defendant Demitrius Glenn walking past a nearby Jack-In-The-Box. Glenn surrendered himself and relatives gave police a tip about where Kinard was hiding. Once in custody detectives tell Kinard his friends have ratted him out but the 16-year-old refused to give investigators any information.
Even before his arrest, Kinard's Facebook page had become a lightning rod for racists. The comments are one of the ways detectives learned a white supremacist group had put a bounty on the suspect's head, why even today there's extra security at their court appearances.
Police records also show while he was still on the run, Kinard used a cell phone to confess to one of his relatives that he was responsible for Belton's death and that he had "screwed up big time."
Thanks to district resource officers in our schools and even the juvenile detention center staff, police learned the name of their suspects as soon as they started showing around still images made from those surveillance videos.
The reports released by the police also show they were fed some red herrings in their investigation. In one case an individual had posted on the Spokane News Facebook page the name of one of the suspect that appeared in the surveillance video. Other community members urged her to call police, but she refused because she didn't want to be a snitch and then she followed up by deleting the name she had posted.
However that same night a dozen people called Crime Check to say they had written down the name before the woman deleted it, thinking they could help solve the crime but it turned out to be nothing more than a case of mistaken identity.