By Jesse Wood
Jan. 10, 2014. Damon Mallatere, the president of Appalachian Hospitality Management at the time of the carbon monoxide deaths in Room 225 of the Best Western in Boone that occurred several months ago, turned himself in Friday just before noon to the Watauga County Magistrate’s office.
His Winston-Salem attorney David Freedman was present, saying that he posted bond of $40,000 and pleaded not guilty, according to media reports. Mallatere was recently charged with three counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of assault for Daryl and Shirley Jenkins who died in April; 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams who died in June and his mother Jeannie Williams, who suffered permanent brain damage from carbon monoxide poisoning.
While Mallatere, 50, who resides in Blowing Rock, didn’t speak to reporters on Friday, Freedman answered questions.
“His heart goes out to the families of the people who passed away,” Freedman told reporters. “Regardless of what he’s going through, it can’t compare to what they go through every day.”
Mallatere is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 17.
On the day the District Attorney’s Office announced the charges, Paul Culpepper, an attorney representing Appalachian Hospitality Management, released a statement saying that Mallatere is “extremely disappointed” that authorities pressed criminal charges against him, claiming that a conversion of the pool heater from propane to natural gas by Independence Oil “was not properly performed.”
The statement also questioned the actions of the Boone Planning & Inspections department, which inspected the conversion in March 2012.
While the Boone Planning & Inspections hasn’t returned calls for comment, Daryl Knight, of Independence Oil, has since said that the grand jury’s indictment spoke for itself and that Independence Oil’s conversion passed the town’s inspection.
See the permit and inspection documents that Culpepper released today below
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