World & Nation

Delbert Belton’s daughter-in-law: ‘They need to pay the consequences’

Hours after the early morning arrest of a second suspect in the slaying of an 88-year-old World War II veteran in Spokane, Wash., the victim’s daughter-in-law said Monday that she hoped the teenagers involved would “pay the consequences” for their “horrendous” actions.

Barbara Belton told the Los Angeles Times that she got a phone call about the arrest of the second suspect around 8 a.m. Monday. She also said 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.”


On Wednesday night, witnesses called police to report an assault outside the Eagles Lodge, a popular gathering spot that offers bingo, poker and pool. Officers arriving on the scene found Delbert Belton inside his car with serious head injuries, his wallet missing. He was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

Authorities had released images from surveillance cameras in hopes of catching the two teen suspects. One was taken into custody around 10 p.m. Thursday. The second teenager was arrested Monday around 3 a.m., Spokane police said.

In a statement, police said the second suspect was arrested “without incident” in a basement apartment at 500 West Montgomery Ave. in Spokane. It also said “Several other people ... have been arrested for rendering criminal assistance.”

News reports have named both suspects, but Los Angeles Times policy is not to identify juveniles accused of crimes unless they are being tried as adults.


A probable-cause affidavit has been filed with the Spokane County Juvenile Court, requesting charges of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery for the suspect arrested Thursday, officials said. In the statement on the latest arrest, Spokane police said the second suspect was taken into custody under the same circumstances.

The killing stunned friends and family and sent shock waves through the city. Belton served in the Army during World War II and was wounded by gunfire in the Battle of Okinawa. After completing his military service, he worked at an aluminum plant for more than 30 years.

Friends called him “Shorty,” and it was the company of his friends that helped him cope with the death of his wife, Myrtle, about six years ago, Barbara Belton told The Times.

On Monday, she said the slaying had hit her husband the hardest. William H. Belton, 65, is the victim’s only son, and has been in the hospital since the middle of August. Barbara has had to deliver the news to him piece by piece.

“They weren’t real close,” Barbara said of her husband and father-in-law. “But it’s still your father.” 


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Twitter: @mattstevensLAT  

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