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Plea expected today in WWII veteran’s beating death

Bobbie Belton holds a flag memorializing her father-in-law, Delbert “Shorty” Belton, on Tuesday at her home in Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Bobbie Belton holds a flag memorializing her father-in-law, Delbert “Shorty” Belton, on Tuesday at her home in Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland)

The news that murder suspect Kenan Adams-Kinard planned to plead guilty came as a relief to Bobbie Belton, the daughter-in-law of slain World War II veteran Delbert Belton.

Adams-Kinard is expected to enter his plea this afternoon in exchange for having other charges against him dropped, court officials said Monday. He and Demetruis Glenn, both 17, are accused of beating Belton in his car on Aug. 21, 2013, leaving the veteran to die of his injuries the next day.

Prosecutors discussed the deal with Belton and her granddaughter last week. She was told Adams-Kinard would serve 20 to 30 years for the slaying and would not be eligible for parole or early release due to good behavior.

“He did a really terrible, terrible thing to an old man who was defenseless, and he needs to be punished for what he did,” she said, sounding more resigned than vindictive. “Going to jail for 20 or 30 years, some people would say that’s not enough. Well, it’s better than not going to jail at all.”

She said she was subpoenaed to testify at the trial, originally scheduled for next Monday, to talk about Delbert Belton’s character. But she prefers not to be back in the national spotlight the way the family was after the killing happened.

“When it all happened and the media was in touch with me, I was getting calls from California and New York,” she said. “If the other kid would take a plea deal, I would be just as happy.”

Bobbie Belton’s husband, Bill Belton, was unable to attend his father’s funeral because cancer had left him bedridden. He has since died.

Adams-Kinard and Glenn were scheduled to begin trial together next week. Belton said prosecutors had not talked to her about a possible plea deal with Glenn, whose trial still is scheduled for Monday.

Adams-Kinard is represented by public defender Derek Reid, but filed a motion Dec. 11 through private attorney Douglas Phelps, seeking to have Phelps represent him. That motion has not yet been ruled on by Judge Annette Plese, who was presiding over Adams-Kinard and Glenn’s trial.

In a declaration filed Dec. 23, Adams-Kinard said Reid had not visited him to discuss his case for close to three months and was unwilling to discuss trial strategy with Adams-Kinard or his family.

Reid did not respond to a call Tuesday seeking comment. He is scheduled to represent Adams-Kinard at the plea hearing today.

Above all, Belton hoped the plea might finally bring resolution to the case, which has dragged on after multiple scheduled trials were pushed back.

“Even if there was a death sentence put up, that’s not going to bring Delbert back,” she said.

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