One of two suspects in the beating death of World War II veteran Delbert “Shorty” Belton has claimed that the 88-year-old was trying to sell him crack, NBC News is reporting. Not only that; 16-year-old Kenan Adams-Kinard claimed in a letter that he made sure the unconscious Belton was still breathing before running off.

An affidavit from prosecutors says that while he was on the run for four days, Adams-Kinard told two friends that the beating was the result of a drug deal gone bad. Police seized a letter signed with Adams-Kinard’s name that gave a similar account.

The letter said that after buying a “zip of crack cocaine from Shorty,” the teens “proceeded to sock him.”

“I took his wallet and another ounce of crack from his pockets,” the letter said, according to the court document. “He was unconscious so I made sure he was still breathing, and then I took off.”

Just for the record, authorities say there’s no evidence to support Adams-Kinard’s claim.