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Monday, January 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Police: Couple planned baseball bat attack on employer

Authorities believe a Spokane couple paid another man with drugs to beat a restaurant owner with a baseball bat following an argument in February.

Kaylee R. Zornes, 26, and Austin D. Tinsley, 30, face criminal counts of assault with a deadly weapon and criminal conspiracy after investigators linked them to an attack on the owner of the Mamma Mia restaurant at 420 W. Francis Ave. in February. The victim told police he was attacked by a man with a ninja-like mask and a baseball bat just before midnight Feb. 7.

The alleged assailant, Just E. Rodney, was arrested minutes later near the restaurant. The victim told police he suspected Zornes, an employee who had quit earlier in the day during a heated argument over scheduling, of arranging the attack. Zornes told police the victim threw a can of soup at her, a claim he denies.

Zornes and Tinsley, who are married, posted Rodney’s bond the day after the attack. Tinsley was sentenced to more than two years in state prison later in February for unrelated firearm and drug possession crimes, according to court records, and is currently in custody at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. Rodney is not listed in custody.

Zornes spoke with police in March and denied any knowledge of the attack. But investigators questioned Rodney’s girlfriend, who said she contacted both Zornes and Tinsley about the attack. The woman’s cellphone contained a voicemail from the day of the attack in which Tinsley says he has “a job” for Rodney. In the recording, Tinsley offers $600 to Rodney to beat the restaurant owner and references the kitchen fight, according to court documents.

Zornes was arrested Friday on the charges. She’s scheduled to appear in court this afternoon.

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