A Vermont man accused by family members of killing his millionaire grandfather and drowning his mother on their boat to collect inheritance money, has appeared in court.
Nathan Carman, 23, was a suspect in his grandfather John Chakalos’ death after the wealthy 87-year-old real estate developer was shot and killed in his Vermont home in 2013, but a prosecutor at the time rejected a warrant for his arrest pending more information.
Three years later, Carman went on a fishing trip with his mother Linda Carman, 54, who disappeared when the boat sank off the coast of Rhode Island.
Today, he was in probate court after his three aunts filed a ‘slayer action’ lawsuit asking a judge to block him from inheriting a portion of the family’s $44million fortune.
Nathan Carman, 23, was in probate court today after his three aunts filed a lawsuit asking a judge to block him from inheriting a portion of the family’s $44million fortune
Carman, 23, was a suspect in his grandfather John Chakalos’ death and three years later, Carman went on a fishing trip with his mother Linda Carman, 54, who disappeared when the boat sank. But he has never been criminally charged
While he was the last known person to see both Chakalos and his mother before their deaths, Nathan has denied any wrongdoing, saying he loved both relatives.
Representing himself, Carman told the court: ‘It’s not so much the money or my freedom as it is my reputation … and I’m concerned about protecting my future,’ Boston 25 reports.
He also claims that his aunts had more motive than he did to kill his grandfather.
‘I will say that 2 of the petitioners had substantial motive,’ he said. He previously labeled his aunts as ‘greedy’ and ‘driven by malice to make the vexatious, false, and insupportable allegations.’
The judge expressed concern about the autistic 23-year-old representing himself in such a serious case, and Carman informed him he was planning to sell his home to finance an attorney.
Nathan was a suspect in his grandfather John Chakalos’ death after the wealthy 87-year-old real estate developer (right) was shot and killed in his Vermont home in 2013
Three years later, Carman (right) went on a fishing trip with his mother Linda Carman (left), who disappeared when the boat sank off the coast of Rhode Island
Carman said he was also seeking to have the death of his grandfather and his mother heard in two separate cases.
‘My grandfather’s death is an event that occurred in December of 2013 and petitioners are asking about modifications that I made to my boat in 2016. Are we trying two murder cases here or one?’ he asked.
‘Do we not first need to figure out whether or not my mother is dead? What’s the manner of death?’ Carman continued.
‘Having two separate cases is what I’ve been pushing for.’
However, he was tight lipped when his aunts’ lawyer began asking him about what happened to a gun that has been missing since his grandfather’s 2013 shooting death.
Carman said he was pleading the 5th Amendment when asked by attorney Dan Small about the guns he owned – including a Sig Sauer rifle that used .308 caliber bullets — the same bullets used in his grandfather’s shooting.
A billboard offered a $250,000 reward for anyone with information leading to an arrest in Chakalos’ death. He and his wife were well known for their Christmas lights display
Carman is seen with his grandmother shortly before she died. Three years after his grandfather died, his mother was presumed dead after their fishing boat went under
Police investigating Chakalos’ death in 2013 say Carman never told them he owned the Sig Sauer rifle.
When they searched his Middletown apartment, they only recovered a shotgun and a pellet rifle.
Small is now demanding Carman hands over any records of his purchase of the Sig Sauer rifle, along with shooting range memberships, and locations, arguing that documentation is not covered by the Fifth Amendment.
Carman argue she simply does not have the the documentation they are asking for any more, saying he didn’t file taxes that year because he was a teen without an income.
No criminal charges have been brought against Nathan but his aunts Valerie Santilli, Elaine Chakalos, and Charlene Gallagher filed a ‘slayer action’ in New Hampshire, asking a court to find him responsible for killing Chakalos.
The pair were in this boat when it sank off the coast of Rhode Island. Nathan was found lost at sea a week later
Small said previously that the details and evidence in Chakalos’ death and in Linda’s disappearance ‘all point to Nathan as the prime suspect.’
‘Yet he now stands to inherit millions of dollars from their estates,’ Small said in a statement.
Small said if the sisters win the lawsuit, ‘they pledge to use those funds exclusively to pay for expenses incurred relating to the investigation into the death of their father and disappearance of their sister, and any remaining funds will go to charity.’
Chakalos, a Second World War veteran, was shot dead at his home in Windsor, Vermont in 2013, just weeks after Carman’s grandmother died of cancer.
Carman previously told the Hartford Courant: ‘He loved me very dearly,’ he added. ‘I was like a son to him; he was like a father to me.’
In September 2016, Linda was on a fishing trip with her son, when the boat sank, according to Nathan.
Nathan Carman is accused of killing both his grandfather and mother by three aunts who have filed a lawsuit to block him from inheriting a portion of the family’s $44million fortune
Nathan, right, disembarks at the US Coast Guard station in Boston in 2016
He was rescued at sea a week later, and the search for Linda was called off after the Coast Guard said there was no chance of her still being alive.
In a recording of the phone call Carman made to the Coast Guard after he was rescued by a freighter, he said he heard a ‘funny noise’ in the engine compartment of his boat and then saw water pouring in before he lost sight of his mother.
While Nathan said he patched some holes on the 31-foot-long boat with marine putty before the trip, he insisted the boat was seaworthy.
But insurance companies claimed in court that ‘incomplete, improper, and faulty repairs’ were made the day before the boat sank.
Carman told ABC’s ’20/20′ last year that he’s misunderstood and an easy target for police because he suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum. A few of its hallmarks are awkward social and communication skills.
He was diagnosed with Asperger’s, a high-functioning variation of autism spectrum disorder, when he was a child, New York Magazine reported.
Those who knew him at high school said he was very socially awkward and that he had the social aptitude of a child.
Nathan Carman, 23, was rescued after a week, however his mother Linda Carman (pictured) was never discovered
His classmates from high school said that during Halloween in 2009 a parent of a trick-or-treater called police because Nathan had been handing out Ziploc bags filled with fish guts to people.
They said he had a strange obsession with the Second Amendment and believed ‘U.S. citizens should be allowed to buy any form of weapons, including rocket launchers, automatic weapons, grenades.’
His classmates also said Nathan was a six-foot giant loner who was teased and taunted. Apparently this made him very hostile towards students and faculty members. ‘He was very insistent that he was right, and that was it,’ a former classmate said.
‘He would knock stuff over or whatever off the desk. The teacher would try to go out and talk to him, but there was no reasoning with Nathan,’ they continued.
Although he was close to his mother growing up their relationship became strained when he was a teenager. He apparently threw a tray of cookies at a wall after his mother burnt them. ‘Soon enough he’s going to slit your throat while you’re sleeping,’ her boyfriend at the time said.