In an explosive turn Tuesday, Kenan Adams-Kinard, 16, the second suspect charged in the beating death of 88-year-old World War II veteran Delbert "Shorty" Belton in Spokane, Wash., claims the senior was a crack dealer who tried to short him and his accomplice Demetrius Glenn, also 16, during an unfortunate exchange.
According to The Spokesman-Review the drug dealing allegation is documented in a letter found inside the house where police arrested Adams-Kinard on Monday morning and was revealed during his first court appearance on Tuesday afternoon.
Defense attorney Steve Horst reportedly objected to the introduction of the letter at Tuesday's hearing, arguing that the prosecutors had already identified probable cause to hold his client, but District Judge Debra Hayes allowed it.
Adams-Kinard's father, Steven Kinard, who admitted to a history of drug addiction, supported his son's claim. Belton, he told The Spokesman-Review "was well known in the cocaine dealing community. He's far from the World War II hero he's been portrayed," the elder Kinard explained.
"He poisoned the country and poisoned our kids," he said. "I think everybody needs to look on the other side of the picture," he added.
Belton's family, however, have dismissed the claims as ridiculous.
"There's absolutely no truth to that whatsoever," Belton's nephew, Ian Day, told The Spokesman-Review. "By saying these things they've brought darkness upon themselves."
Natalie Flom, a close friend of Belton who the veteran was reportedly awaiting at the time of the attack, burst out laughing when she heard about the claim in court. Belton, she said, could hardly be convinced to take his blood pressure medication, let alone crack cocaine.
"That is just hilarious," she told The Spokesman-Review. "I can't even believe they went there."
Belton, who was reportedly wounded in the Battle of Okinawa, was allegedly beaten in his vehicle as he waited for Flom in a parking lot.
Spokane police have also declared that they, too, have found nothing to support the drug dealing claims.
A report on KHQ.com further noted that Judge Hayes increased Adams-Kinard's bond from $2 million to $3 million on Tuesday over concerns for public safety and pegged the teen as a flight risk.
According to the report, Adams-Kinard admitted that he had approached Belton to purchase crack cocaine and the attack only occurred because he shorted them.
Adams-Kinard was ordered to be taken to the Spokane County jail immediately after Tuesday's hearing. Glenn, who had turned himself in last Thursday when Belton died, appeared in court a day earlier on Monday and had his bond set at $2 million. Both teens are expected to be tried as adults.