Two Teens Arrested, Charged in Beating Death of WWII Vet

Aug 26, 2013

Police have arrested the second teenager accused of beating to death an 88-year-old World War II vet in Spokane.

The two 16-year-old boys have been charged with first-degree robbery and first-degree murder in the case that has attracted national attention.

Delbert Belton was beaten beyond recognition while he waited in his car outside the Eagles Lodge in north Spokane last week. Belton, known as “Shorty” to his friends, served in the Army and had survived injuries in the battle of Okinawa.

Police believe two local teens are responsible for Belton's death. The first turned himself in last week. Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub told reporters that officers found the second 16-year-old suspect with the help of the teen's family.

“The family worked with the department to bring this to a conclusion, because the family got the gravity of this situation. These are two young men that just spun out of control, and now they've been arrested,” Straub said.

Discussions in online forums alleged that Belton’s death was a hate crime as he was white, and the suspected teens are black. But Straub emphasized that the motive for the crime was robbery; race was not a factor.