Authorities released new details Monday about two teenage boys who are charged with the murder of Delbert Belton, an 88-year-old World War II veteran, in Spokane, Wash., saying the motive of the attack was robbery, and that family members helped lead police to their second suspect.
Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub, at a news conference Monday that was streamed live online, said suspects Demetrius Glenn and Kenan Adams-Kinard, both 16, have been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery.
Glenn turned himself in last week and Adams-Kinard was arrested early Monday morning.
“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,” Straub said.
Both teens will be charged as adults, according to Lenna England, secretary for the gang unit of the Spokane County prosecuting attorney’s office, which is handling the case.
Each was being held in lieu of $2-million bail, England told the Los Angeles Times.
At the news conference, Straub urged Spokane and other cities across the country to support what he called “a very troubled group of young people.”
“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 said. “And, probably, 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 Adams-Kinard, who went into hiding after Wednesday's attack on Belton. All three are charged with “rendering criminal assistance to evade police apprehension,” Straub said.
Witnesses first called police shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday to report an assault outside Eagles Lodge, a popular gathering spot where Belton liked to play pool.
Officers arrived to find Belton, still in his car, suffering from serious head injuries. He was transported to a local hospital, where he later died.
Straub said Belton was “in a parking lot … waiting for a friend” when he was attacked. Authorities found Belton’s wallet in the immediate vicinity, he said, and money had been taken.
“Our information is that the individual fought back -- and that may have made this a worse situation,” Straub said, referring to the severity of Belton's injuries. “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.”
Police were “still looking into” whether the two suspects committed any other crimes that night, Straub said.
After the attack, police released photos of the suspects taken from surveillance cameras. Glenn turned himself in by Thursday night and police then asked for the public's help in finding Adams-Kinard, issuing a release with the teen's name and mug shot.
Straub said Monday that family members pleaded with Adams-Kinard to turn himself in, and helped police find him. The teenager was taken into custody around 3 a.m. Monday “without incident,” Straub said.
Straub noted that both suspects “had previous arrests and convictions,” and that “there are other pieces of the investigation … that would allow us to charge first-degree murder.”
“We’re confident we’ve built a very strong case against both individuals,” he said.
Hours after Adams-Kinard was arrested, the victim’s daughter-in-law said that she hoped the teenagers involved would “pay the consequences” for their “horrendous” actions.
Barbara Belton told The Times that she knew police would eventually find the teenager.
“When people commit a crime they need to be arrested and tried and sentenced for the crime they have committed,” Belton said. "I hope this will happen."
“You can’t go around beating people to death and think it’s OK and not pay any consequences. They need to pay the consequences of their action, which was horrendous.”
A candlelight vigil was held for Belton on Friday night outside the Eagles Ice-A-Rena, next to the Eagles Lodge. Over the weekend, the memorial that had sprung up Thursday grew, and the local community began rallying to raise money to help the WWII veteran’s family.
A military funeral for Belton is scheduled for noon Thursday at Greenwood Memorial Terrace in Spokane.