Crime Update: Details Emerge In April Murder

By KBBE News
May 08, 2017

The 25-year-old accused of killing a McPherson man last month was given permission to use the victim’s truck the day before police found the body and allegedly used the truck to steal a knife and other items from Walmart, according to the probable cause affidavit released Wednesday.

Travis Belt, 25, was arrested April 16 for the murder of 58-year-old Steven Carlson. Belt’s preliminary hearing for first-degree murder is scheduled in McPherson from July 17 to 19.

Police found Carlson’s body April 14 after the victim’s friend called 911. Police found an open garage door that led to Carlson’s home.

Carlson’s white truck was missing.

The documents do not say if the Walmart knife was used in the murder of Carlson, but police did return to the McPherson store during the investigation to inquire about the blue knife.

According to a witness’ statements to police, Belt put Carlson in a headlock and took him to the ground April 12. Carlson asked Belt to leave his home, but instead the suspect went in the living room and laid on the couch.

The witness was at Carlson’s home April 13 during the daytime and evening hours and on April 14 texted Carlson but never got a response. The person went to Carlson’s home and found the garage door open and told police that was unusual.

Police have recovered a partially burned tank top, sweatpants and a pair of boxer briefs. Police were told Travis Belt tried to burn the clothes early in the morning on April 14.

One witness also told police Travis Belt said "I need to dig a hole … I was across town at Steve’s and you know.’ ”

Police noted lacerations and cuts on Belt’s body.

Belt’s criminal record with the Kansas Department of Corrections started in 2011 with a possession of opiates, opium, narcotic drugs or certain stimulants. In 2012, he was sentenced on criminal possession of a firearm.

In 2016, he was convicted of aggravated assault, DUI and aggravated endangering of a child.

The 25-year-old is the son of Douglas Belt, who was sentenced in 2004 to the murder of Lucille Gallegos. The Wichita woman’s head was never found and Douglas Belt, the man known as the “I-70 rapist,” died in prison last year.

Travis Belt was just coming into his teenage years when his father was convicted of premeditated murder and rape of the 43-year-old woman.

Douglas Belt’s history with the KDOC started in 1996 with burglary, theft and a drug charge.

Dr. Robert Denney, a forensic psychologist and fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Psychology, said the genetic disposition and social environment may have played into Travis Belt’s known history.

“If they both have history like that then it suggested more strongly there may have been a strong genetic disposition and suggests likely that the childhood situation was dysfunctional,” Denney said.

The forensic psychologist has testified 100 times in criminal cases.

“There's a lot of variables involved that we don't know about yet,” Denney said. “It may or may not come out in future.”


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