BOONE, NC – Barry Damon Mallatere faces three counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of assault inflicting serious bodily injury. A grand jury in Watauga County handed down the indictments Wednesday. “It’s a very voluminous record… we looked over physical evidence, photographs, interviews,” says Assistant District Attorney Britt Springer.
Mallatere is president of Appalachian Hospitality Management. “He is the president and proprietor of day-to-day operations of the Boone Best Western,” Springer says. Police say a faulty pool heater just below room 225 at the Best Western on West King Street is the reason Daryl and Shirley Mae Jenkins from Washington State died last April. Two months later, 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams from Rock Hill died in the same room, his mother Jeannie was severely injured.
In a statement, the Williams family says “This is a very difficult position for our family, as we do not want to see any person or persons have to go to prison for an honest mistake.”
Investigators say the heater had several deficiencies and was corroded… and that the motel didn’t get a permit before installing the used heater in 2011. The Watauga County Medical Examiner resigned after investigators found he knew about the carbon monoxide issue before Jeffrey died.
In the months following the carbon monoxide deaths, the Best Western re-opened, but for now room 225 remains closed.