Man accused of killing his mother at sea to inherit an estate

MONTPELIER, Vermont — A man found floating on a raft off the coast of New England in 2016 after his boat sank was charged in an unsealed indictment on Tuesday with killing his mother at sea to inherit of family property.

The eight-count indictment issued in federal court in Burlington, Vermont, also says Nathan Carman shot and killed his grandfather, John Chakalos, at his home in Windsor, Connecticut, in 2013 as part of an effort to defraud insurance companies, but he was not charged with the murder.

Carman was found in an inflatable raft eight days after leaving a Rhode Island marina to go fishing with his mother, Linda Carman, who was never found.

Carman, 28, of Vernon, Vermont, was arrested on Tuesday. He is scheduled to appear in federal court Wednesday in Rutland, Vermont. His attorney did not return a call seeking comment.

William Michael, attorney for Carman’s mother’s sisters, said Tuesday the family had no immediate comment.

The indictment, which was handed down May 2 but released after Carman’s arrest, outlines what prosecutors said was a scheme to defraud Chakalos’ estate.

“As a central part of the scheme, Nathan Carman murdered John Chakalos and Linda Carman,” the indictment reads.

Authorities allege in the indictment that on November 11, 2013, Carman used his New Hampshire driver’s license to purchase a gun which he used on December 20, 2013 to shoot Chakalos while he slept.

After Chakalos’ death, Carman received $550,000 from various accounts. He moved to Vermont in 2014 where he was unemployed and by the fall of 2016 he was low on funds.

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.”

Seven of the eight counts relate to what prosecutors say were fraudulent efforts to obtain money from his grandfather’s estate or insurance companies.

The other earl alleges that Carman killed his mother. If convicted of the murder charge, he faces life in prison.

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.

Carman denied doing anything to intentionally render the boat unseaworthy. He told 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.

The judge found, among other things, that shortly before the fishing trip with his mother, Carman had made improper repairs to the boat. Witnesses said he removed two stabilizer trim tabs from the stern, near the ship’s waterline, leaving holes which he attempted to seal with an epoxy stick.

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.

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This story has been corrected to show that Carman is due in court Wednesday in Rutland, not Burlington.

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AP reporters Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire, Lisa Rathke in Montpelier, Vermont, and Dave Collins in Hartford, Connecticut, contributed to this report.