US man charged with killing mother at sea for $7m inheritance

Prosecutors say Nathan Carman also killed his grandfather in 2013

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A man found floating on a raft off the coast of Rhode Island in 2016 after his boat sank has been indicted on charges alleging he killed his mother at sea to inherit the family's estate.

An eight-count indictment released on Tuesday 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.

Mr Carman had reportedly stripped his 9.5-metre fishing boat of several parts so he could intentionally sink the vessel, the indictment said.

Witnesses said that he had removed two stabilising trim tabs from the stern, near the vessel’s waterline, leaving holes that he tried to seal with an epoxy stick.

He denied doing anything to intentionally make the boat unseaworthy and told the coastguard that when the boat filled with water, he swam to the life raft and called for his mother, Linda Carman, but never saw her again.

Mr Carman was found in an inflatable raft eight days later. His mother has never been found.

In 2019, a federal judge in Rhode Island decided that Mr Carman had contributed to the 2016 sinking of the boat in which his mother was lost at sea.

And US District Judge John McConnell issued a written decision in favour of an insurance company that had refused to pay an $85,000 claim to Mr Carman for the loss of his fishing boat, The Chicken Pox.

He was arrested on Tuesday on charges including murder and was due to be arraigned on Wednesday.

The murder of John Chakalos, Nathan Carman's grandfather, remains unsolved. Tribune News Service / Getty Images

Prosecutors claim the inheritance scheme has spanned nearly a decade and began with Mr Carman buying a rifle in New Hampshire that he used to shoot his grandfather, John Chakalos, in December 2013.

He then discarded his computer hard drive and the GPS unit that had been in his vehicle, prosecutors said.

Chakalos, who was a real estate developer, left behind an estate that was worth nearly $29 million, which was to be divided among his four daughters.

Mr Carman stood to receive a $7m share in the estate as his mother’s only heir.

Updated: May 11, 2022, 5:32 PM