Hotel executive charged in Boone hotel deaths

by: Catherine Bilkey Updated:


BOONE, N.C. - The head of a hotel management group is facing serious charges after three people, including an 11-year-old, died in a hotel in Boone.

A grand jury indicted Barry Damon Mallatere with three charges of involuntary manslaughter, all in connection to the Best Western hotel deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Eyewitness News went to Mallatere's home Wednesday to ask him about the allegations, but no one answered the door.

His attorney, Paul Culpepper, discussed the charges in a statement:

"Damon Mallatere is disappointed the district attorney has decided to press criminal charges against him in light of the facts of this matter."

The statement continues to say Mallatere's company hired another to convert the pool heater from propane to natural gas.

It blames that company for the "extremely high levels of carbon monoxide."

But the district attorney's office doesn't see it that way.

"The D.A.'s office decided to submit to the grand jury one name, and that name being Barry Damon Mallatere," Assistant District Attorney Britt Springer said.

The D.A.'s office looked through records showing that Daryl and Shirley Jenkins were the first to die in room 225 at the Best Western in April.

Police did not suspect any kind of foul play at that time.

Seven weeks later, 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams died in the same room.

His mother nearly died there.

Carbon monoxide had seeped into their room from the hotel's pool heater, according to investigators.

Wednesday, the grand jury indicted the head of the hotel management group who ran the hotel, Mallatere, on three charges of involuntary manslaughter and one count of assault inflicting serious bodily injury.

"We looked over physical evidence, photographs, interviews and also statements made by many, many people in the community," Springer said.

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