Friends of a murdered WWII veteran are denouncing claims Delbert "Shorty" Belton was killed during a drug deal gone bad. One of the murder suspects told friends he was buying crack cocaine from the 88-year-old man.
According to police, Kenan Adams-Kinard, 16, one of the suspects in Belton's beating death, told friends he was buying crack cocaine from Belton. He made the same claim in a letter found in the apartment where he was arrested early Monday morning, police said.
Authorities were able to track Adams-Kinard down to a basement apartment in a residence in the 500 block of West Montgomery thanks to a tip from the suspect's own mother, who tipped off police out of concern for his safety.
In court, an allegation has now come out that Kenan Adams-Kinard allegedly acted as the "muscle" in the attack on "Shorty" Belton, and three days after the murder, he showed up at the basement apartment where he was told his friends about the killing and was later apprehended.
According to court documents, Adams-Kinard said he "was trying to buy an ounce of crack cocaine from Shorty, and Shorty tried ripping him off."
Spokane police have said there is no evidence to support the drug dealing claim and from day one made it clear this was a random, strong-arm robbery.
"I would like to make it very clear the motive for this attack was robbery," Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub said in a media briefing earlier this week.
Police say Adams-Kinard and Demetrius Glenn, 16, took Shorty's wallet. However, in a letter Adams-Kinard purportedly penned to his mother, it is written:
"[We] opened the door and then socked him (Shorty). Two more times ... I took his wallet and another ounce of crack from his pockets."
It was that alleged confession to attacking Belton that Adams-Kinard's attorney tried to keep from being read in open court Tuesday. Judge Debra Hayes overruled the defense council's objection.
"I appreciate your objection, I would like to have the other facts stated on the record. I believe public is here, and they have the right to hear the additional facts," Hayes said.
While Adams-Kinard's attorney didn't want the confession entered into the record, the teen murder suspect's family are sticking by the boy's claim the veteran of the Battle of Okinawa and Purple Heart recipient was a crack dealer.
Kinard's uncle, Terrance Kinard, said Shorty and some of the family members go way back and used to be in the same circle.
"He's not who everyone thinks he really is," Terrance Kinard said. "Back in the days, we were all in the same circle doing drugs."
Terrance Kinard himself has been arrested for drug dealing before but claims he's clean now.
As for his claim that Shorty was a crack addict or dealer, the Spokane Police Department has no evidence of that and Shorty's friends call those allegations ridiculous.
"Shorty couldn't even watch somebody take an insulin shot without going, 'Whoa' you know, kind of getting all light headed," Ted Denison, Shorty's friend, said.
Friends said Shorty didn't like taking his own prescription medications, he never mentioned drugs and never used them. They added he didn't like to be alone and he rarely was and if the accusations were true they would have known something.
"He had nothing to do with drugs or any of that kind of stuff," Shorty's friend Glenn Longsdorff said.
Terrance Kinard is sticking to his story, saying that time will show he's right.
"I pray that the truth will come out, for the better for our family and for their family," he said.
Shorty's friends can't believe his legacy is being dragged through the mud by his murder suspect and the suspect's family.
"There's no way Shorty would do something like this. For the family and stuff, to stick behind their kid, I can understand that, but come on you've got to read between the lines," Denison said.
So, on the eve of Delbert 'Shorty' Belton's funeral, an allegation has been made that he was a drug dealer, posited by one of the suspects of his killing and supported by the family of that murder suspect.