Attorneys for NH developer's grandson argue for release before trial

·3 min read

Jul. 6—Attorneys for Nathan Carman are arguing for his release on bail while he awaits trial for the murder of his mother and fraud charges.

Carman, 28, of Vernon, Vt., the grandson of murdered New Hampshire developer John Chakalos, was arrested in May and has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder on the high seas in the death of his mother, and seven counts of fraud.

In a motion filed Wednesday, Carman's defense attorney argued he should be released before his trial instead of held in jail, arguing he is not a flight risk because although he has been accused of his grandfather's murder for almost a decade, Carman has remained in his home in Vernon, Vt.

Carman's attorneys argue he is not dangerous, adding that he has an autism-spectrum disorder, but is not "mentally unstable" as prosecutors have alleged — and can safely be released from jail before his trial.

In May, federal prosecutors in Vermont charged Carman with murder on the high seas in the death of his mother Linda Carman in 2016, and seven counts of fraud that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Vermont allege was meant to obtain his mother's inheritance following the 2013 murder of Carman's grandfather, New Hampshire nursing home developer John Chakalos, at Chakalos' home in Connecticut in 2013.

In 2016, Carman and his mother went on a fishing trip off the coast of Rhode Island, but the boat sank. Carman's mother, Linda Carman has not been seen since. Carman was charged with "murder on the high seas" in his mother's death. The fraud charges allege Carman in hopes of obtaining his mother's inheritance.

Prosecutors accused Carman of killing Chakalos, but he has not been charged in that death. Carman's defenders noted that police in Connecticut were denied a warrant to arrest Carman for the murder in 2013, and a Connecticut grand jury declined to indict him.

Carman's family was for years embroiled in a probate-court dispute about who should inherit Chakalos' fortune, with Carman's aunts seeking to stop Carman's inheritance and claiming he had killed Chakalos.

Where Vermont prosecutors had argued earlier this year that Carman was unbalanced and had the financial resources to run away before trial, his defense attorney, Michael L. Desautels said prosecutors were overplaying his dangerousness and access to money.

In a motion filed Wednesday, Desautels wrote there was no record showing Carman had ever been diagnosed with anything but Asperger's syndrome, an autism-spectrum disorder. Desautels added that Carman has been "unofficially" accused of his grandfather's murder for almost 10 years, but has stayed in the region and made his home in Vermont.

Desautels gathered letters of support from the owner of a horse stable where Carman rode horses in his youth and a Boy Scout leader who had known Carman for most of his life. Both said they had never seen a violent outburst from Carman. A letter from pastors at a Vermont church that Carman sometimes attended described him as "always pleasant," saying they never felt threatened by him though they were aware of the accusations against him.