Two black teenagers accused of killing a World War II veteran have been put under protective custody after a neo-Nazi prison gang placed a bounty on their head.

Kenan Adams-Kindard and Demetrius Glenn, both 16, are accused of beating 88-year-old Delbert Belton to death in Spokane, Washington state.

The teenagers, who both deny murder, have been put in protective custody after the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist prison gang, reportedly offered a $10,000 (£6,100) bounty for them to be killed, according to the Spokane Spokesman Review.

District court judge Debra Hayes said she made the decision not to put the juveniles in the adult Spokane County Jail while they awaited trial. She warned of "tragic results" if they shared premises with adult racists.

The Aryan Brotherhood formed in California prisons in the late 1960s and claims 20,000 members across the US.

Despite making up less than 0.1% of the US prison population, they are believed to be at one time responsible for up to 20% of murders in the federal prison system, according to FBI figures.

The Aryan Brotherhood are known for their distinctive tattoos (WikiComms)
The Aryan Brotherhood are known for their distinctive tattoos (WikiComms)

Kindard and Glenn are accused of beating Belton to death with torches in his car outside an ice rink.

The boys said they beat Belton after they bought crack cocaine off him. A letter found at the home where Kinard was arrested said they punched him three times after buying a "zip of crack cocaine from Shorty".

The letter adds: "I took his wallet and another ounce of crack from his pockets. He was unconscious so I made sure he was still breathing, and then I took off."

Police dismissed their version of events and said there was "no evidence" that the 88-year-old was a drug dealer. Belton's family described the claims as ridiculous.

The pair are due to stand trial in March.