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Crime News Family Crimes

Man Awaiting Trial For Killing His Mom in Inheritance Scheme Found Dead in Cell

Nathan Carman, who was accused of killing his mother and grandfather in inheritance schemes, was the sole occupant of his jail cell when he was found dead.

By Elisabeth Ford
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

A Vermont man who was awaiting trial for allegedly killing his mother in an inheritance scheme was found dead in his jail cell Thursday morning.

Nathan Carman was being held at Cheshire County Department of Corrections in Keene, New Hampshire when he was found dead in his cell, NBC affiliate WPTZ reported. He was the sole occupant of the cell.

An autopsy report from the New Hampshire Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that Carman’s death is not being considered suspicious, WPTZ reported.

RELATED: Man Accused Of Murdering Mother At Sea To Gain Family Inheritance Will Stand Trial In October

Carman’s defense team seemed surprised at the death of their client.

"I spoke with him last night for an hour," defense attorney David Sullivan told WPTZ Thursday. "He was in fine spirits, we were very encouraged, we had action items that we were going to address today, and the plan was to speak with him this afternoon."

Carman, 29, had left a note for his lawyers, but they were in the dark about its contents as of Thursday afternoon, according to the Associated Press. Federal prosecutors informed the defense about the note.

Nathan Carman speaks at a hearing in probate court

“We were meeting with some experts today over Zoom at 12 o’clock. We were prepared to start picking a jury on Oct. 10 and we were confident we were going to win,” Carman’s lawyer Martin Minnella told the AP Thursday. “I’m just heartbroken because I wanted him to have his day in court.”

Carman was scheduled to go to trial in October after pleading not guilty to fraud and first-degree murder in the 2016 death of his mother, Linda Carman.

Prosecutors allege that Carman planned to kill his mother back in September 2016 for a $7 million inheritance when he arranged for them to go on a fishing trip, ending in Linda's disappearance after their boat sank off the coast of Rhode Island, WPTZ reported.

The U.S. attorney’s office described the case as a “murder on the high seas" after Carman was charged last year, NBC News reported.

Carman denied the prosecution’s allegations that he intentionally altered the boat to make it more likely to sink, per WPTZ. He was found on an inflatable raft eight days after he and his mother left a Rhode Island marina. Linda was never found.

Prosecutors also claim that Carman’s inheritance scheme goes back a decade when his grandfather, John Chakalos, was shot and killed on Dec. 20, 2013, in his Windsor, Connecticut home.

RELATED: Man Accused Of Killing Mom On High Seas For His Inheritance Denied Bond

They alleged Carman bought a rifle in New Hampshire to shoot his grandfather, according to the AP. In the indictment, Carman is only accused of the killing, he was never charged for it.

Carman inherited about $550,000 after his grandfather’s death in 2013, WPTZ reported.

For much of 2016, Carman was unemployed and “low on funds,” according to prosecutors, which is when he allegedly arranged the fishing trip with his mother.

Following his death, the U.S. Attorney for Vermont has filed a motion to dismiss the case against Carman, according to court documents cited by WPTZ.

Carman’s defense team noted that he is still presumed innocent.

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