Bail was set at $3 million Tuesday for a 16-year-old who is charged in the slaying of an 88-year-old World War II veteran and who contends the man was beaten to death because he shorted him and another teen on a sale of crack cocaine.

The allegation was sharply denied by friends of the victim, Delbert Belton.

“Shorty never did no drugs,” said Ted Denison, a friend who added the defendants were “smearing his name.”

The drug-dealing claim is in a letter police found after they arrested Kenan Adams-Kinard early Monday, Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell said in court Tuesday.

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Haskell said the letter contends Adams-Kinard and Demetrius Glenn, 16, were buying crack from Belton when the attack occurred Aug. 21. That notion was scoffed at by family members and friends of Belton.

Both teens are charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery. The charges carry a potential life sentence.

The teens will be tried as adults.

A lower bail of $2 million had been set for Glenn on Monday. Hayes said Adams-Kinard is a greater flight risk if released.

The judge noted that Glenn turned himself in Thursday night, while Adams-Kinard hid out for days before he was arrested.