by: Dave Faherty Updated:
BOONE, N.C. - Channel 9 was the only local TV station in Boone Friday when a hotel executive turned himself in.
Damon Mallatere was indicted on three counts of involuntary manslaughter after carbon monoxide gas killed a couple and an 11-year-old boy who stayed at the motel he managed.
Mallatere walked from his attorney’s office down the street.
"We're trying to get your reaction to the charges,” Channel 9 reporter Dave Faherty asked.
“You'll have to speak with my attorney,” he said.
“Do you feel in any way responsible? I'm trying to get your side,” Faherty said.
He's not making any statements,” Mallatere’s lawyer said.
In April, Daryl and Shirley Jenkins died in room 225, and then seven weeks later 11-year old Jeffrey Williams died.
Investigators discovered carbon monoxide gas seeped into the room through a corroded exhaust pipe for the pool's water heater.
This week the grand jury indicted Mallatere, the operator of the motel, in all three deaths.
"You don't want to say anything to the families?” Faherty asked.
“Anything I would say on his behalf and our hearts go out to them and we live with that every day,” said attorney David Freeman.
Freeman was cautious when talking about the case. He told Channel 9 Friday he has not seen what evidence the police have yet against Mallatere.
But on Friday morning, one of his attorneys sent Channel 9 an inspection report done by the town of Boone on the conversions of the pool water heater from LP to natural gas in 2012.
That inspection was done a year prior to the deaths and the work was done by a gas company that sold much of its assets two months ago.
"He never intended to do any harm to these people. That would be inconsistent with anything in his past. He has no criminal history. He is a hardworking self-made man," Freeman said.
Mallatere and his two attorneys walked out after posting a $40,000 bond.
His arraignment is set for Feb. 17.
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