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Nathan Carman Charged With Murdering His Mother on Coastal Fishing Trip


The boat in which Carman is accused of murdering his mother in 2016 - COURTESY: U.S. COAST GUARD
  • Courtesy: U.S. Coast Guard
  • The boat in which Carman is accused of murdering his mother in 2016
A federal grand jury has indicted Vernon resident Nathan Carman for the murder of his mother, Linda Carman, six years after she disappeared when their fishing boat sank off the shores of Rhode Island.

Carman, 28, is also accused of killing his wealthy grandfather, a nursing home baron named John Chakalos, in 2013 while Chakalos was asleep in his Connecticut home, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors in Vermont say Carman killed his mother and grandfather in order to collect inheritance and boat insurance proceeds, some of which he used to buy a rundown farmhouse in Vernon.

He was arrested Tuesday and is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday. Carman faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted of murdering his mother on the high seas.

The U.S. Coast Guard searched for Nathan and Linda Carman for a week in September 2016 when the pair didn't return from a fishing trip on Nathan's boat, the Chicken Pox. A commercial vessel later discovered Nathan in an inflatable life raft, seemingly unscathed.
With his mother missing, Carman sought to collect on an insurance policy for the boat worth $85,000. The insurance company denied the claim, pointing to modifications made to the boat that rendered the Chicken Pox unseaworthy.

The criminal indictment alleges Carman orchestrated the trip with the murder plot and coverup in mind. Before launch, he removed a pair of forward bulkheads and trim tabs from the transom of the boat's hull. Carman also removed his computer from his home, which prosecutors say he did to prevent police from reviewing it while he was at sea.

Once at sea, prosecutors allege that Nathan killed his mother and then sank the boat, though the indictment does not state how.

According to prosecutors, Carman concocted the murder and insurance fraud scheme because he was running low on funds he obtained by killing his rich grandfather three years earlier, when Carman was still a teenager.

Chakalos, who had amassed a fortune of "tens of millions of dollars" by developing nursing homes in New England, had arranged for his estate to be distributed to his heirs through a family "Dynasty Trust," according to the indictment. His grandson was entitled to $150,000 and listed as a beneficiary alongside his mother on a second account worth about $400,000, court records state.

In 2012 and 2013, the feds say Carman and his grandfather spent significant time together. His grandfather bought Carman a truck, paid for an apartment and convinced Linda Carman to designate Nathan as the beneficiary of her $400,000 trust.

Nathan Carman finished high school in 2012. He enrolled in community college but didn't complete many of his courses and spent long stretches unemployed.

In November of 2013, Carman used one of his grandfather's residences in New Hampshire to obtain a driver's license in that state. Five days later, he used the driver's license to buy a Sig Sauer rifle from a gun shop in Hooksett.

The following month, prosecutors wrote, Carman shot the 87-year-old Chakalos twice while he was asleep in his Windsor, Conn., home, though the indictment does not charge him with Chakalos' murder. To help cover his tracks, Carman is said to have disposed of a computer hard drive and GPS system that was in his truck on the night of the murder.

Relatives have long accused Carman of Chakalos' murder, and police have previously identified him as a suspect. When Carman's aunts went to court in an effort to block him from obtaining his inheritance proceeds, Carman denied any involvement in his grandfather's killing.

Rather, he contended, an unnamed young "mistress" of Chakalos' may have committed the crime.