Best Western Executive Charged in 2013 Boone Hotel Deaths
In Watauga County, a Best Western business executive faces involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of an elderly couple and an 11-year-old boy.
Damon Mallatere faces three charges of involuntary manslaughter in connection with three people who died at the Best Western in Boone in 2013. The hotel guest all stayed in room 225 and were poisoned by carbon monoxide. According to investigators, the gas came from the swimming pool water heater and seeped up a corroded exhaust pipe into the room.Britt Springer is chief prosecutor and will try this case. She says after reviewing all evidence, the grand jury believed there is a case against Mallatere. "The Grand Jury's job is not to try the case. It is to see if there was probably a crime committed and whether probably the defendant committed that crime," explains Springer. "They obviously found both of those things because they did return a true bill."Last April, 73-Daryl Jenkins and his wife 72-Shirley Jenkins of Washington state stayed in room 225 at the Boone Best Western. In June, 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams of York County, S.C. and his mother stayed in the same room. Jeffrey and the Jenkins died. Jeannie Williams, Jeffrey’s mother, suffered serious injuries.In regards to Williams, the jury indicted Mallatere on an additional count of assault inflicting serious bodily injury.The 50-year-old is president of Appalachian Hospitality Management. According to his attorney, Mallatere believes the gas company that converted the pool heater from propane to natural gas is more culpable in the hotel deaths. Involuntary manslaughter is a felony. If convicted, Mallatere could face up to 20 months in prison for each charge.According to his attorney, Mallatere believes the gas company that converted the pool heater from propane to natural gas is more culpable in the hotel deaths. Involuntary manslaughter is a felony. Mallatere could face up to 20 months in prison for each charge.