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Vt. man denies killing mother at sea for inheritance

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 12:18 PM EDT|Updated: May. 11, 2022 at 1:47 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - A Vermont man on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to charges that he killed his mother at sea in an effort to inherit his family’s estate.

Nathan Carman shouted “not guilty” to members of the media as he was led into the federal court in Rutland, where cameras are not allowed.

Six years ago, the Vernon man was rescued in a life raft off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard after a week stranded at sea. His mother, Linda Carman, was never found. The two were on a fishing trip. At the time of his rescue, Carman told authorities that their boat just suddenly started taking on water. “There was a funny noise in the engine compartment. I looked and saw a lot of water,” he said.

But according to court documents unsealed this week, federal prosecutors say Carman killed his mother and altered the boat, causing it to sink. It is still not clear how she was killed. Her body was never found.

Investigators were seen searching Carman’s Vernon home Tuesday. According to a federal indictment, Carman is also accused of murdering his grandfather, John Chakalos at Chakalos’s home in Windsor, Connecticut back in 2013, though he has not been charged for that murder. Authorities say both killings were part of a scheme to obtain money and property from the family trust.

As a reason to hold Carman without bail, court papers state: “For an individual who would kill his own family members, nothing is off the table.”

They go on to say Carman suffered from mental illness for most of his life, which caused him to lash out with “explosive rages.” “Carman’s mental instability, which has gone untreated for the past decade, provides further reason to believe that he poses a danger.”

The 28-year-old pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday. A detention hearing is scheduled for May 16th in Burlington.

Carman faces a total of eight charges. If convicted for murder on the high seas, he faces a mandatory life sentence.

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