The Associated Press
SPOKANE — A 17-year-old Spokane boy who admitted beating a World War II veteran to death during a robbery was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison.
Kenan Adams-Kinard pleaded guilty to murder last month and faced a standard sentence of 20 to 27 years in Spokane County Superior Court, The Spokesman-Review reported.
Delbert Belton, 88, survived the battle of Okinawa but was beaten to death outside an Eagles Lodge in August 2013 by two youths who then stole his wallet.
The second teen accused in the attack, Demetrius Glenn, faces trial next month on a murder charge.
Belton, known as “Shorty,” returned to Spokane after World War II and spent decades working at Kaiser Aluminum before retiring.
Two of Belton’s nephews, as well as his friend Martha Denison, spoke before the sentencing. Through tears, they described Belton as soft-spoken, patriotic and unfailingly kind.
Nephew Steve Belton spoke about Belton’s service in Okinawa and described him as the “patriarch” of the family, the last of his siblings left alive.
“He was small in stature, but he made up for it with heart,” he said.
All three credited Adams-Kinard for taking responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty.
“I hope that during this whole process, when he’s done with everything he has to do, he thinks twice about ever doing this again,” Denison said.
Adams-Kinard read a lengthy prepared statement in which he asked for forgiveness and assured the Belton family that he has grown into a better person since he killed Belton.
“Life is a precious gift, and to know that I have taken the life of another person has severed my spirit,” Adams-Kinard said. “From this day forward, I intend to turn the page and start a new chapter in my life.”
Two robbery charges against Adams-Kinard were dropped in exchange for his plea. He was also ordered to pay about $6,400 in fines and restitution.
He will serve his time in a juvenile facility until he is 21.
Because Adams-Kinard is a minor being tried as an adult, a state law mandating a 20-year minimum sentence for first-degree murder does not apply to him, meaning he will also be eligible for early release due to good behavior.