RUTLAND, Vt. – A 28-year-old man who was rescued from a raft off the coast of New England in 2016 after his boat sank was awaiting arraignment on Wednesday for killing his mother at sea to inherit the family estate.
Nathan Carman was due to face trial in federal court in Rutland on multiple charges of fraud and a first-degree murder charge in the death of Linda Carman. He shouted “Not guilty!” in the direction of reporters as he approached the courtroom.
Authorities allege in the unsealed indictment Tuesday that Carman also killed his grandfather, Greek-American John Chakalos, at his home in Windsor, Connecticut, in 2013 as part of a scheme to obtain money and property from his grandfather’s estate, but he was not charged. with this murder.
“As a central part of the scheme, Nathan Carman murdered John Chakalos and Linda Carman,” the indictment reads.
Carman was found in an inflatable raft eight days after leaving a Rhode Island marina to go fishing with his mother, who was never found. Prosecutors allege Carman modified the boat to make it more likely to sink that day. He denied doing anything to intentionally render the boat unseaworthy.
Carman, who was arrested on Tuesday, faces life in prison if convicted of murdering his mother. His attorney did not return an email seeking comment.
Prosecutors allege the nearly decade-long legacy plan began with Carman’s purchase of a rifle in New Hampshire that he used to shoot Chakalos on December 20, 2013, when he was sleeping. He then threw away his computer’s hard drive and GPS unit that were in his truck, prosecutors said.
Police say Carman was the last person to see his grandfather alive and had a semi-automatic rifle similar to the one used to kill Chakalos – but the gun is missing.
After Chakalos’ death, Carman received $550,000 from two bank accounts his grandfather had opened and of which he was the beneficiary when Chakalos died. He moved from an apartment in Bloomfield, Connecticut, to Vernon, Vermont, in 2014. He was unemployed most of the time and by the fall of 2016 was low on funds, prosecutors said.
In September 2016, Carman arranged to go on a fishing trip with his mother on his boat named “Chicken Pox”.
“Nathan Carman planned to kill his mother on the trip,” the indictment reads. “He also planned how he would report the sinking of the ‘Chicken Pox’ and the disappearance of his mother at sea as accidents.”
Prior to the voyage, Carman modified the boat by removing two forward bulkheads and trim tabs from the transom of the hull, the indictment states.
“After leaving the marina, Nathan Carman killed his mother, Linda Carman, and eventually sank the Chicken Pox,” it says.
In 2019, a federal judge in Rhode Island ruled that Carman contributed to the sinking of the boat. U.S. District Judge John McConnell issued a written decision in favor of an insurance company that refused to pay an $85,000 claim against Carman for the loss of its 31-foot fishing boat.
Carmen denied the allegations, telling the Coast Guard that when the boat quickly filled with water, he swam to the life raft and called his mother but never saw her again.
He was found floating in the raft off Martha’s Vineyard, an island in Massachusetts, by the crew of a freighter eight days after the boat went missing.
Chakalos, who was a real estate developer, left behind an estate worth nearly $29 million, which was to be shared among his four daughters. Carman is in line to get around $7 million from the estate, as his mother’s sole heir.
Chakalos’ three surviving daughters sued Carman in New Hampshire probate court, seeking to enjoin him from receiving money from Chakalos’ estate. A judge dismissed the case in 2019, saying Chakalos was not a resident of New Hampshire. The registration dossier has been refiled in Connecticut, where it remains pending.
William Michael, attorney for Carman’s mother’s sisters, said Tuesday the family had no immediate comment.