February 8, 2014 in City

Trial in WWII vet’s death nears, but mix-ups delay release of records

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Background and the latest updates

Errors in compiling and redacting more than a thousand pages and digital files of investigative material may keep the public from viewing records in the beating death of a World War II veteran until after a trial begins.

Teenagers Kenan Adams-Kinard and Demetruis Glenn have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Delbert Belton, 88, who was found battered in his vehicle in August.

While the trial is tentatively scheduled to begin next month, a public records request filed by a local television station for access to 911 audio recordings, transcripts of interviews and other documents was put on hold Friday after an attorney for the city said her office had failed to provide defense attorneys with requested material.

“This is a delay caused by the city,” city attorney Mary Muramatsu said in court. Redacted digital media files the city had intended to turn over to defense attorneys for review at first were handed over without any changes, then they were released in part. As a result, defense attorneys for Adams-Kinard and Glenn still have not seen all of the material the city intends to release to the public from the investigation.

Glenn’s attorney, Christian Phelps, had originally petitioned the court for two months to review the documents and stipulate in court filings what should be released. Phelps echoed that request Friday, pushing the potential release of information in the case to mid-April, a month after opening arguments in his client’s trial are set to begin.

If there are no concerns, defense attorneys could OK the release of investigative documents sooner than that.

Belton’s death drew national media scrutiny last summer, and security officials at the Spokane courthouse claimed to have received death threats from the Aryan Brotherhood targeting the suspects. Adams-Kinard wrote in a letter police have linked to him that he began pummeling Belton after the senior citizen shorted him on a deal for crack cocaine.

Both suspects remain in custody pending trial.

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