Trial set for man accused of killing mother at sea, fatally shooting wealthy grandfather
A federal judge on Tuesday set an October trial for the man charged with killing his mother at sea during a 2016 fishing trip off the coast of New England in what prosecutors say was a scheme to inherit millions of dollars.
Nathan Carman, 29, of Vernon, Vermont, pleaded not guilty last year to fraud and first-degree murder in the death of his mother, Linda Carman, 54, of Middletown, Connecticut. The eight-count indictment also says Carman shot and killed his wealthy grandfather, John Chakalos, at his home in Windsor, Connecticut, in 2013, but does not charge Carman with murder in Chakalos' death.
However, the indictment, brought by a Vermont grand jury in May 2022, does outline in explicit detail a series of business meetings and discussions between Carman, his grandfather and his grandfather's financial adviser over a number of years, which it suggests demonstrated "Carman's financial interests in John Chakalos's assets" and the trusts funded by his large estate.
"By 2013, John Chakalos had set up two bank accounts for which Nathan Carman was the beneficiary upon Chakalos's death," the indictment states. "One account, containing approximately $150,000, was designed to provide financial support for Nathan Carman's college enrollment. The second account, containing approximately $400,000, listed both Linda Carman and Nathan Carman as beneficiaries on Chakalos's death."
Despite not charging Carman formally in the death of Chakalos, the grand jury alleged that "[b]eginning in or about 2013 and continuing until the present," Carman "devised a scheme to defraud the Estate of John Chakalos, its executor, the Dynasty Trust, and its trustees, and to obtain money from the Dynasty Trust by materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises."
"As a central part of this scheme, Nathan Carman murdered John Chakalos and Linda Carman," the indictment reads.
U.S. District Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford on Tuesday set the trial for Oct. 2 in Rutland. A federal prosecutor said the government planned to include several different types of expert testimony, including testimony on marine survival and draft analysis. Prosecutors plan to make those disclosures to the court by May 1.
Crawford also heard from lawyers about the defense's motion for partial disclosure of minutes from the grand jury proceeding that led to Carman's indictment, seeking to learn what was disclosed about his grandfather's death.
Carman's lawyer, David Sullivan, of Connecticut, told the judge that Carman was never charged in Chakalos' death, but the indictment includes "outright assertions that are very troubling to the defense." He said the investigation into Chakalos' death is ongoing and has not been closed.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Van de Graaf said Chakalos' "murder" is part of the fraud charge.
In September 2016, Carman arranged a fishing trip with his mother, during which prosecutors say he planned to kill her and report that his boat sank and his mother disappeared in the accident.
He was found floating in an inflatable raft eight days after leaving a Rhode Island marina with his mother, who was never found. Prosecutors allege he altered the boat to make it more likely to sink. Carman has denied that allegation.
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