Businessman charged in motel death of Rock Hill boy free on bond

Charlotte ObserverJanuary 10, 2014 

Jeffrey Williams

— Damon Mallatere, the businessman charged this week in last year’s carbon monoxide deaths - including a Rock Hill boy - at a Boone motel, posted a $40,000 bond on Friday and through his attorney expressed sympathy to the victims’ families.

On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted Mallatere on three counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of assault inflicting serious injury. As president of Appalachian Hospitality Management, he ran the Best Western where the deaths occurred and four other Boone motels.

A police investigation determined that carbon monoxide escaped from the swimming pool water heater into Room 225 of the Best Western, killing Daryl and Shirley Jenkins in April and 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams of Rock Hill in June. Jeffrey’s mother, Jeannie, was seriously injured.

Mallatere, 50, of Blowing Rock, arrived at the magistrate’s office at 11:30 p.m. with his two attorneys and did not speak with reporters.

“His heart goes out to the families of the people who passed away,” Mallatere attorney David Freedman told reporters. “Regardless of what he’s going through, it can’t compare to what they go through every day.”

At his attorney’s advice, Mallatere declined to answer questions. Freedman also declined to say who should be blamed for the deaths.

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