Teen sentenced to 16 years for beating death of WWII vet that sparked outrage in Spokane


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SPOKANE, Washington — The second teenager charged with beating a World War II veteran to death during a robbery in Spokane was sentenced Thursday to 16 years in prison under a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to murder.

In return for the plea from Demetruis Glenn, 17, prosecutors dropped a robbery charge.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Annette Plese accepted recommendations from prosecutors on the sentence in the death of 88-year-old Delbert "Shorty" Belton.

The first 17-year-old prosecuted in the case, Kenan Adams-Kinard, also pleaded guilty to murder. He was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors say the two killed Belton in August 2013 outside an Eagles Lodge. They say Belton, who was wounded in the Battle of Okinawa, was killed for his wallet.

Glenn struck a plea deal with prosecutors just hours before he was scheduled to go to trial earlier this month.

Glenn declined to address the court, but he wrote a letter to Plese. Defense attorneys said the letter said it was important to settle out of court so Belton's family didn't have to sit through a trial.

Because Glenn turned himself in following the murder, prosecutors asked for a shorter sentence than the 20 years given to Adams-Kinard.

Belton was found severely beaten in his vehicle and died shortly after.

Belton returned to Spokane after World War II and spent decades working at Kaiser Aluminum before retiring. Relatives have described him as soft-spoken, patriotic and unfailingly kind.

Because Glenn is a minor being tried as an adult, a state law mandating a 20-year minimum sentence for first-degree murder does not apply to him, meaning he will also be eligible for early release because of good behavior.

Adams-Kinard and Demetruis Glenn were both 16 when they were charged with severely beating Belton in his car on Aug. 21, 2013.

The beating death of the diminutive veteran sparked outrage in Spokane.

Glenn turned himself in to police shortly after surveillance photos were distributed by investigators. Adams-Kinard was found by police a few days later, hiding in an apartment.

Adams-Kinard said in a letter to his mother that Belton was a drug dealer and had shorted them in a crack cocaine deal. Prosecutors said Thursday there was no basis for those allegations.

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