Two charged for death of Wendy's manager

Anchorage police say murder was planned

Posted: Thursday, January 27, 2000

ANCHORAGE - Two fired employees of a Wendy's were charged Wednesday with fatally shooting the night manager and robbing the fast-food restaurant, police said.

Omelette Muasau and Jeremy Palmer, both 18, were each charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and first-degree robbery. They were being held in the Cook Inlet Pre-Trial Facility on a cash bail of $500,000 each.

Police said they confessed shortly after being arrested.

Dianne Rostron, 31, was shot in the back of the head about 1 a.m. Tuesday. A second employee was forced into a break room and was not harmed. Both men were armed, said police spokesman Ron McGee.

Rostron was shot even though she cooperated with the gunmen and opened a safe from which they took an undisclosed amount of cash.

``There seems to be some indication she recognized the suspects,'' McGee said.

The two gunmen were not wearing disguises when they were let in, but once inside quickly donned masks. They apparently got away in Rostron's car, which was found nearby.

The restaurant was closed when the two men showed up and knocked on the locked doors to gain entrance, said lead investigator Sgt. Ken Spadafora.

The other employee, thinking the two were friends, let them in, he said.

Spadafora said Muasau may have been planning to kill Rostron before he entered the store. He said after Muasau shot Rostron the two considered killing the other employee.

``We believe he intended to kill the manager when they went in there,'' Spadafora said. Police do not believe the woman who unlocked the doors was involved.

Jay Sutherland, president and chief operating officer of North-Wend Foods, which oversees Wendy's restaurants in the area, said the woman who let them into the store violated the company's safety policies.

``You don't let anyone back in the store once the doors are locked,'' Sutherland said. He said the dispute the restaurant had with the two was over wearing the Wendy's uniform.

The store was closed Wednesday and grief counseling was made available to employees, he said.

Rostron, in cooperating with the gunmen, followed store policy to the letter, he said. She had worked at the restaurant for about 18 months.

``She did everything perfect,'' Sutherland said.

Being former employees, the accused men were familiar with the layout of the store and its routine, he said.

``Obviously, they knew there was cash there,'' Sutherland said.

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