Spokane Honors Slain WWII Veteran at Memorial Service

Aug 29, 2013

More than 300 people gathered in Spokane Thursday for the burial of World War II veteran Delbert Belton. The 88-year-old was robbed and beaten to death last week while he waited in his car.

Scores of veterans honored Delbert Belton at a cemetery in west Spokane. Friends and family remembered a man who loved to repair cars by day and go out dancing at night, and went by the nickname “Shorty.”

The service also drew many people in Spokane who never knew Belton, but felt compelled to be there.

“This was such a heinous crime. We've got to band together and make sure these things don't happen any more,” said Karen Schute.

Two 16-year-old boys are facing first-degree murder charges in Belton's death.

That news came as a shock to Michael Brown, who says he played football against one of the teens. Brown, also 16, knew Belton for most of his life and thought of him like a grandfather.

“I was done. I was like, ‘How could … how could someone our age even think of doing that?”’ he said.

In a bizarre twist in the case, one of the Spokane teens accused of killing Belton this week claimed the elderly vet had been selling them crack cocaine. Spokane police say they have found no evidence of this.