Before she left Tammy’s Coffee House, in Nitro, on Aug. 19, 2018, Tiffany Priestley, 28, turned off the glowing “Open” sign in front of the business, an assistant prosecuting attorney said Thursday.
Inside the business, an employee lay bleeding after Priestley stabbed her seven times and slit her throat before taking about $3,000 from the business, according to testimony provided Thursday morning in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Priestley pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree robbery before Judge Tera Salango as part of a plea deal with the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
In exchange for Priestley’s guilty plea, Assistant Prosecutor Deb Rusnak agreed to drop charges of malicious assault and attempted murder.
The sentence for first-degree robbery is a minimum of 10 years in prison.
Priestley told Salango she was under the influence of drugs and didn’t “remember a lot” of the robbery, but “I know I did it.”
Priestley said she is addicted to meth and heroin.
“I just really was struggling at the time,” Priestley said. “I was very, very under the influence. I was addicted to drugs — the worst I’ve ever been in my life. I did it to get high.”
Priestley told the employee there was a problem in a restroom in the gambling parlor, and as the employee walked to the restroom, Priestley stabbed her and cut her throat before taking the money from the business, Rusnak said.
The employee suffered a collapsed lung and other injuries from being stabbed, Rusnak said.
“The last thing she saw was Ms. Priestley reach up and turn off the open sign,” Rusnak said.
Police arrested Priestley and her boyfriend at a hotel in Barboursville. She is being held at the South Central Regional Jail, in Charleston. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 26.