Kendall deaths: ‘It’s an absolute tragedy that didn’t have to happen’

Photos by Tom Rivers: Orleans County law enforcement officials met with the media at 11 a.m. today to discuss the arrest of David A. Wiley Jr., who has been charged with reckless endangerment and criminally negligent homicide after the death of a mother and her son from carbon monoxide poisoning last month. From left include Jeff Gifaldi, investigator with the Sheriff’s Office; Michael Mele, chief deputy; District Attorney Joe Cardone; and Undersheriff Chris Bourke.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 May 2018 at 12:54 pm

KENDALL – A Kendall resident used such poor judgement in operating a generator in a closed garage, leading to the death of two of his neighbors, that he is facing felony charges of reckless endangerment and criminally negligent homicide, District Attorney Joe Cardone said in a news conference today.

“His reckless conduct rose to such a gross level,” Cardone said about David A. Wiley Jr., 39, of 2245 Center Rd.

Undersheriff Chris Bourke takes questions from the media this morning at the Orleans County Public Safety Building.

Wiley was living in apartment A of the duplex when he set up the generator in the garage on April 16. It was directly below the living space of his neighbors in apartment B. Joan C. Gilman, 38, and her son Richard J. Gilman, 14, were found deceased in an upstairs bedroom on April 18.

An autopsy showed extremely high levels of carbon monoxide in their system and the cause of death was found to be “inhalation of products of combustion,” Undersheriff Chris Bourke said.

The generator ran for 17 hours and the fumes from it were 4-5 times the amount that could kill a person, Bourke said.

The power had been turned off at the site after the bill wasn’t paid. Wiley, as caretaker of the property, was responsible for paying the bill to National Grid, Bourke said.

When the electricity was turned off, Wiley set up a generator to power his side of the duplex, but not the apartment for the Gilmans, the undersheriff said.

“It’s an absolute tragedy that didn’t have to happen,” Bourke said.

Agencies could have helped negotiate keeping the power on, or the generator could have been set up outside the house, Bourke said.

David A. Wiley Jr.

The Kendall code enforcement officer has red-tagged the building, removing the certificate of occupancy due to code violations. Bourke said the town wasn’t aware the house had been subdivided into two apartments.

Wiley is very remorseful about what happened and didn’t intend to hurt anyone, said Jeff Gifaldi, investigator for the Sheriff’s Office.

Cardone said generators have warning labels to not operate inside.

“We grow up educated that you don’t run combustible engines in a living area,” Cardone said. The generators can cause a fire and the carbon monoxide is also a “silent killer,” Cardone said.

“It’s such an obvious thing and such an obvious use of poor judgement,” he said.

The maximum sentence for felony reckless endangerment is 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison, while the maximum for felony criminally negligent homicide is 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.

Wiley was arraigned in Albion Town Court on Thursday. He was remanded to the county jail on $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond. He is scheduled to return to the Town of Kendall Court on May 7 at 5:30 p.m.

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