Store owner gets probation for selling teen beer before fatal accident
By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — A store owner who sold 16-year-old Jonah King alcohol hours before a fatal accident in June will serve 18 months of unsupervised probation.
Hecham Nauraldin Abualeinan, owner of Z and H Mart on Mooresville Road, was sentenced as part of a plea arrangement with prosecutors. He was charged in June with two counts of selling alcohol to a person under 21 by a state Alcohol Law Enforcement agent.
Abualeinan also paid court costs of $240.
Jonah King’s mother, Jackie, called the sentence “ridiculous.”
“I just think that that’s pathetic for a punishment for what he did and it’s not setting an example for any other store owners that there’s a punishment for those actions,” King said.
Investigators said Jonah King purchased two 18-packs of beer, one on June 9 and one on June 10, from the convenience store located about a mile and a half from his family’s house.
Video surveillance showed the clerk did not ask for photo identification, deputies said.
Abualeinan declined to comment Thursday except to say that King had been to the store many times and that he considered him a regular customer.
“He showed me many times his ID,” Abualeinan said.
King fell from the longboard — an extended skateboard — about 1:30 a.m. on June 11. Emergency crews said he wasn’t wearing a helmet and struck his head on the pavement.
He was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, where he later died.
In a press release, Alcohol Law Enforcement said “investigations show alcohol contributed” to the fatal accident.
An Aug. 18 helmet awareness event will be held in Jonah King’s memory.
Jackie King said a police-escorted benefit ride will travel from Tilleys Harley Davidson in Salisbury to Tilleys Harley Davidson in Statesville and then back.
Registration is from 11 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. The event will have food and drinks, as well as live entertainment from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Proceeds from the event will go to Jonah King’s funeral expenses and to children who need helmets.
King said she hopes to continue the event for years to come.
“It’s just an event that will bring awareness to children,” King said.