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Real estate heir accused of killing grandfather and mother for millions in inheritance money now set for trial

Nathan Carman appears in court during a previous civil case in New Hampshire. (Image via screengrab from the Law&Crime Network.)

Nathan Carman appears in court during a previous civil case in New Hampshire. (Image via screengrab from the Law&Crime Network.)

A Vermont real estate heir accused of killing his World War II veteran grandfather and mother for millions of dollars in inheritance money is set for trial this fall, a federal judge ruled this week.

Nathan Carman, 29, has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud and first-degree murder in the death of his mother, Linda, during a supposed fishing trip off the coast of Rhode Island in 2016, officials said. An indictment accuses Carman of fatally shooting his grandfather John Chakalos, but authorities have not charged Carman with the murder of his grandfather. He has denied killing both of them.

Prosecutors said the killings were part of a scheme to obtain money and property from Chakalos’ estate and related family trusts, officials said in a news release.

Carman’s lawyer David Sullivan told a judge this week that Carman was never charged in Chakalos’ death, but the indictment includes “outright assertions that are very troubling to the defense,” The Associated Press reported. He said the investigation into Chakalos’ death is ongoing and has not been closed, AP said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Van de Graaf said Chakalos’ “murder” is part of the fraud charge, AP reported.

Court records spell out the alleged murder scheme that stretched back to 2013 when authorities say Carman devised a plan to defraud the estate of Chakalos, who made tens of millions of dollars by building and renting nursing homes and other real estate ventures.

He allegedly shot Chakalos twice with a rifle while the older man slept in his Connecticut home on Dec. 20, 2013, the indictment said.

Carman received about $550,000 in inheritance but spent much of the money between 2014 and 2016, a time he mainly spent unemployed, court records state.

By the fall of 2016, he was low on funds.

In September, he arranged to go on a fishing trip with his mother, court documents state. But the boat sank, and Carman was rescued at sea, his mother nowhere to be found.

Carman planned to kill his mother on that trip and report the sinking of the boat and his mother’s disappearance at sea as accidents, authorities stated in court documents.

Prosecutors allege he then covered up the killings.

“As part of his cover-up, Nathan Carman misrepresented his involvement in and responsibility for those deaths to law enforcement, to his family, to others who made inquiries about the deaths and their circumstances, and to others who challenged his cover-up or challenged his rights to his grandfather’s assets,” the indictment said.

A federal grand jury indicted him in May 2022 with three counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, and murder on the high seas.

In arguing for him to be jailed while awaiting trial, prosecutors said he was a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Prosecutors noted his offense involved detailed planning over years, including evading aerial reconnaissance teams during the search at sea, and a stash of $10,000 in cash that prosecutors said could easily fund his flight.

“Carman’s alleged conduct clearly illustrates danger to the community: the evidence shows that he has killed not once, but twice,” court documents state. “Moreover, the individuals Carman killed were his own family members. For an individual who would kill his own family members, nothing is off the table.

“Carman’s history and characteristics include the obvious fact that, in addition to having little or no human connections, he has little or no empathy for others.”

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