Nathan Carman is slated for arraignment Wednesday in federal court in Vermont on an indictment alleging he killed his grandfather in 2013 and murdered his mother in 2016 as part of an elaborate scheme to collect millions in inheritance money. Carman has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
He allegedly shot his grandfather, developer John Chakalos, to death in Chakalos’s Windsor, Conn. home in 2013, and then allegedly killed his mother, Linda Carman, while the two were at sea on a fishing trip off the coast of Rhode Island in 2016, according to the indictment. He’s charged with first-degree murder in Linda Carman’s death, and with fraud-related offenses connected to the slaying of Chakalos.
The case has been shrouded in mystery - Linda Carman’s body was never found - and a family drama of Shakespearean proportions, with Nathan’s aunts for years publicly accusing him of the killings and fighting to block him from collecting any inheritance money, which their lawyer has called Nathan’s “blood money.”
Here’s five bizarre details surrounding the legal saga involving Nathan Carman, 28, of Vernon, Vt.
1] Feud with the aunts
Carman argued in separate court proceeding in New Hampshire in 2018 that his aunts had “substantial motive” to kill Chakalos, who left behind a $44 million estate to be split among his children including Linda Carman. Linda Carman’s share of the cash would go to Nathan, her only child, when she died.
A lawyer for the aunts at the time called Carman’s assertion about motive “horrific nonsense.”
“Nathan refused to take a lie detector,” said the aunts’ attorney, Daniel I. Small. “Everyone else in that family agreed. Nathan refused to cooperate with the police. Everyone else agreed. ... Nathan wants the blood money. The family does not.”
2] Stunning claim about his mother; said it wasn’t a crime to leave her drowning at sea
Authorities allege Carman made alterations to his boat, the Chicken Pox, ahead of the fateful September 2016 fishing trip he took with his mother so the boat would sink when she was aboard. The boat did sink while they were at sea, and Nathan Carman was rescued a week later from a life raft.
During probate court proceedings in 2018, Carman denied harming his mother and told the court he wouldn’t be legally culpable even if he did abandon her on a sinking vessel.
“Even if you were to believe that, that’s not a crime,” he said in court.
3] Mistress Y
Lawyers for Carman, in a separate civil case in Rhode Island, argued in court papers that Chakalos’s young mistress and her drug-addled boyfriend may have been the culprits in his 2013 slaying. The woman, dubbed Mistress Y in court papers, was 25 when she began a sex-for-cash arrangement with Chakalos in 2013, Carman’s lawyers asserted.
Mistress Y, who gave an interview to police, spoke to Chakalos by phone during the hours before his murder, as Carman was leaving his grandfather’s residence, according to a legal filing.
Carman’s lawyers wrote that Mistress Y had a “history of drug abuse and had relationships with persons who trafficked in illegal narcotics. The boyfriend, with whom ‘Mistress Y’ was living when the sex for money relationship with John Chakalos began, also had a history of drug abuse. ... It is also plausible that ‘Mistress Y’s’ boyfriend, motivated by jealously or greed committed the murder.”
But a 2014 search warrant affidavit from police in Connecticut pointed to Carman as the likely suspect.
The affidavit said the rifle Carman bought weeks before the killing was “consistent with the same caliber weapon used in the homicide,” an assertion disputed by his attorneys.
In addition, the affidavit said, Carman made inconsistent statements to investigators about his activities during the timeframe of the murder, refused to take a polygraph, discarded his GPS and computer hard drive the morning after the killing, and had a second tactical shotgun that police seized from his residence.
4] Details of Carman’s Sig Sauer purchase before Chakalos’s murder
Five weeks before Chakalos’s killing, Carman bought a rifle that was the same caliber as the murder weapon and rebuffed a New Hampshire gun dealer who suggested a “more economical brand” for his stated purpose of target shooting, according to legal filings in a civil case tied to Carman’s insurance claim on his sunken boat.
Carman bought the gun at Shooters Outpost in Hooksett, N.H. on Nov. 11, 2013. In a written declaration, Jed Warner, a former sales associate at the store, said Carman came in that day and informed him that he wanted to buy a Sig Sauer.
“I asked him his intended use for the rifle and he replied, ‘target shooting,’” Warner said in the filing. “I told him if he was interested I could recommend a more economical brand but he replied, ‘No, I have done my research and this is what I want,’ referring to a Sig Sauer 716 Patrol Rifle. It was clear to me from our conversation that he had completely researched that particular model and he was very well-versed and familiar with it.”
Warner and Carman also talked about ammunition.
“We discussed that it [the Sig Sauer] was capable of firing both 7.62 NATO military caliber and more economical .308 commercial grade caliber ammunition interchangeably without any modification since those two rounds’ shells are virtually identical and can be loaded interchangeably in and fired from that model,” Warner said, according to the filing.
Carman purchased the rifle for $2,099.99, according to court records.
5] An ‘abhorrent’ request to take a lie detector exam
Civil filings in the aunts’ lawsuit in New Hampshire said Carman indicated he refused a polygraph in Chakalos’s death because the notion that he had to prove his innocence was “abhorrent to me.”
As part of the aunts’ lawsuit, their lawyers put several written questions to Carman, including one about the polygraph refusal.
Nathan Carman in his written response, said he refused a lie detector “because the accuracy and reliability of polygraph results are questionable, and the principle of attempting to prove my innocence, a seeming waiver of one of the most fundamental human rights, the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, is abhorrent to me.”
He also gave an account of his activities on the night of Chakalos’s murder. Authorities say Carman was the last person to see his grandfather alive.
Carman wrote that he dined with Chakalos at a Greek restaurant on the evening of Dec. 19, 2013, and then drove his grandfather back to his residence. He said he spent a few minutes inside with Chakalos, before Chakalos took a call.
“We hugged at the door, and I left in my truck,” Carman wrote.
Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.