Vermont Man Charged With Murdering Mom At Sea For Inheritance

A 28-year-old Vermont man has been charged with murdering his mother at sea in 2016 as part of an inheritance plot that’s alleged to have included the killing of his multimillionaire grandfather three years earlier.

Nathan Carman pleaded not guilty to eight counts Wednesday, including first-degree murder, related to the death of his mother, Linda Carman, who mysteriously vanished after her son’s boat sank while the pair was boating off the coast of Rhode Island. Nathan Carman was rescued from a life raft a week later and denied all responsibility for what happened.

A federal indictment unsealed Tuesday also accuses Carman of fatally shooting his grandfather, John Chakalos, while the 87-year-old was sleeping at his Connecticut home. Carman is charged with attempting to defraud his grandfather’s estate but is not charged with the 2013 killing.

Carman is seen following his rescue in 2016. The then-22-year-old said his boat sank while he and his mother were fishing off the coast of Rhode Island. She did not survive.
Carman is seen following his rescue in 2016. The then-22-year-old said his boat sank while he and his mother were fishing off the coast of Rhode Island. She did not survive.

via Associated Press

The deaths were motivated by greed, prosecutors allege, with Nathan Carman standing to receive $550,000 from Chakalos’ bank accounts following his grandfather’s death and an additional inheritance following his mother’s. The amount he’d receive from his mother’s estate was not stated by prosecutors, though The Associated Press reported it to be about $7 million.

“Nathan Carman killed Linda Carman willfully, deliberately, maliciously, and with premeditation,” U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont Nikolas Kerest said in the criminal indictment detailing both deaths. “He concocted cover stories to conceal his involvement in those killings.”

Carman faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted on the murder charge and up to 30 years in prison for each fraud charge. He is being represented by Vermont’s Office of the Federal Public Defender, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Prosecutors have alleged that Carman also fatally shot his grandfather, John Chakalos, to obtain inheritance money in 2013. A billboard in Hartford, Connecticut, is seen offering a reward for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.
Prosecutors have alleged that Carman also fatally shot his grandfather, John Chakalos, to obtain inheritance money in 2013. A billboard in Hartford, Connecticut, is seen offering a reward for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.

Hartford Courant via Getty Images

Prosecutors said the murder plots began after Chakalos set up two bank accounts in 2013 that would benefit his grandson following his death. One account containing about $150,000 would go toward Carman’s college tuition, and a second account, containing about $400,000, would go to both Carman and his mother.

Carman purchased a SIG Sauer rifle in November of 2013 and a few weeks later allegedly shot his grandfather in his head as he was sleeping. The next day, Carman discarded his computer hard drive and his truck’s GPS unit, which prevented law enforcement from reviewing data on these devices, authorities said.

Police identified Carman as their main suspect in Chakalos’ death but were unable to charge him with the murder, the Hartford Courant reported.

Carman received about $550,000 from his grandfather’s bank accounts following his death but grew low on funds within three years while largely living unemployed. Due to this financial drain, prosecutors said, he plotted to take his mother fishing with a boat he purchased in 2015 and have her disappear at sea, according to the indictment.

Nathan Carman's Vermont home is pictured after he was rescued off the coast of Massachusetts by a passing freighter.
Nathan Carman’s Vermont home is pictured after he was rescued off the coast of Massachusetts by a passing freighter.

via Associated Press

Prosecutors said the mother and son had a “strained relationship” and that the “principal way” they interacted with each other was through fishing.

Carman allegedly removed his computer from his home and made a number of alterations to his insured boat, the Chicken Pox, that would make it more susceptible to sinking. The pair then set out fishing on the night of Sept. 17, 2016, with Linda Carman leaving behind a float plan with friends that showed that she expected to be home by noon the next day, according to the indictment.

While at sea, prosecutors say, Carman killed his mother in an undisclosed way and then sank his boat. He escaped on an inflatable raft and was picked up a few days later by a passing commercial ship. The next month, he filed an insurance claim for his boat for approximately $85,000. The insurance company denied his claim and accused him of misrepresenting what happened to Linda Carman and his boat.

Chakalos’ three surviving daughters have filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent Carman from collecting any money from their father’s estate. That lawsuit remains pending, according to the AP.

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