Police Arrest Second Murder Suspect in Case of Beaten WWII Vet

By Paige Browning

Spokane police believe they have arrested everyone connected with the beating death of a world war two veteran last week. Officers arrested a second 16-year old for murder early Monday, along with three others for criminal assistance charges.
 
Friends called Delbert Belton “Shortie”. Wednesday he sat in a vehicle outside the Eagle’s Lodge, waiting for a friend, when two teenagers started beating him and stole his wallet. Belton had survived combat wounds in Okinawa during World War two, but died last Thursday at a hospital because of severe head wounds.
 
Thursday night, a 16-year-old suspect turned himself in and received charges for 1st degree murder and 1st degree robbery. Over the weekend the second suspect was encouraged by his family to turn himself in.

Straub: “The family worked with the department to bring this to a conclusion because the family got the gravity of this situation.”

Police Chief Frank Straub says officers arrested the 16 year old without incident, in an apartment on west Montgomery Avenue. There, they arrested three friends of the suspect for 1st degree rendering of assistance, a class b felony. The teens accused of murder will likely both be tried as adults, according to Chief Straub.

Straub stresses the detail that the robbery and beating were neither gang nor racially related. He says robbery was the motive.

Belton, or “Shortie”, was among about 1.2 million living survivors of World War II.

Straub: “A distinguished world war two veteran unnecessarily lost his life. He came close to losing his life in service to this country in Okinawa, and then he gets killed needlessly.”
 
Belton was known to go dancing on the weekends. Over the past weekend community members held a candlelight vigil in his honor, some began raising money for Belton’s family, and other placed flowers and kind notes at the entrance to the Eagle’s Lodge. The family plans to have a private service, and a public military funeral.
 
Copyright 2013 Spokane Public Radio
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