Wage Dispute Leads To Assault Charges

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Jack Kraus, a worker with a Yuma-based paving company, talks with Payson Fire Department EMTs in the parking lot of the Economy Motel (formerly Motel 6) after reportedly being assaulted Friday, April 15.

Police say a disagreement over wages led to the assault of a Colorado man last week and the arrest of three others.

Jack Kraus, 53, of Commerce City, Colo., was reportedly struck several times and choked with his T-shirt by co-workers in the hallway of the former Motel 6, 101 W. Phoenix St. The incident happened after Kraus complained of unpaid wages, said Payson Police Chief Don Engler.

Just the day before, Kraus had been laid off from a Yuma-based paving company whose crew had been paving various roads in Rim Country. The latest job site was in Strawberry.

Around 9 a.m. on April 15, Kraus got into a disagreement with several of his former co-workers over wages.

Kraus was reportedly copying down transportation numbers from the crew’s work vehicles when Albert Charles Hill, 51, of Pine Bluff, Ark. and Michael DeWayne Woods, 47, of Memphis, Tenn., grew irate and assaulted Kraus, Engler said.

The hotel’s surveillance cameras caught some of the assault.

A third man, Ronald Gail Taylor, 42, of Brush, Colo., told police he had not witnessed the assault.

But when officers watched the video, Taylor was seen standing nearby, Engler said.

Taylor was arrested on charges of providing false information to law enforcement while Hill and Woods were charged with assault.

Kraus was not charged. He was treated on scene for his injuries.

After the assault, Hill and Woods left the area. Payson police and Gila County Sheriff’s Office deputies searched around Payson and Strawberry. The men were later found inside the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino and arrested without incident.

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