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The Vermont man awaiting trial for his mother’s high seas murder hopes to be released from federal custody.
Nathan Carman, 28, is accused of killing his mother “on the high seas” in 2016 in what prosecutors say was a diabolical plot to inherit millions. He has been in jail since his arrest but, on Wednesday, Carman’s attorneys filed a motion seeking the defendant’s freedom between now and the upcoming trial, according to the Associated Press.
The motion, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, promises that Carman is not a flight risk, despite prosecutors' claims.
Defense attorneys also argued that Carman would not pose a threat to society, citing his behavior during the years-long investigation.
“At no time during that lengthy period has Mr. Carman ever attempted to threaten a witness, contact a witness inappropriately, or sought to influence a witness in any way,” the motion stated. “There is no evidence to support such a claim now.”
During Carman’s May arraignment, Vermont U.S. Attorney Nikolas Kerest claimed that because Carman was capable of killing his own relatives, “nothing is off the table,” including the possibility of harming others, according to CT Insider.
In Wednesday’s filing, Carman’s legal representation called the evidence against him “tenuous at best.”
Attorneys offered to attach conditions to Carman’s potential release. If approved, Carman would be required to surrender his passport and be subject to electronic monitoring. They also claimed Carman would have to leave all of his confiscated funds — a total of $10,000 — to a separate party or contribute those funds as part of his bail.
Federal agents found the aforementioned $10,000 in cash during a May search of Carman’s home, according to CT Insider. It was part of the foundation for why prosecutors considered Carman a flight risk to begin with.
Wednesday’s filing also referenced Carman’s strong ties to the community formed during his eight years living in Vernon, Vermont. According to his attorneys, Carman has maintained a quiet life between attending church and participating in town forums.
Linda Carman and her son set off from the Ram Point Marina in South Kingston, Rhode Island aboard a fishing boat named “Chicken Pox" shortly after 11:00 p.m. on Sept. 18, 2016, according to the Associated Press.
The U.S. Coast Guard initiated an “extensive search and rescue mission” when the pair failed to return the next day as previously planned.
Nathan Carman was rescued near Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts eight days after the two set sail. He told Coast Guard investigators that the Chicken Pox began to take on water, forcing him to swim to a nearby inflatable life raft. When he called for his mother, he was unable to find her.
Neither Linda nor the boat was ever recovered.
Investigators, however, believe Nathan Carman murdered his mother on Sept. 18, 2016, off eastern Long Island before purposefully sinking the boat, according to the Hartford Courant. He then tried and failed to cash in on an $85,000 insurance claim for the loss of the boat one month after his rescue.
Federal prosecutors say Nathan Carman stood to gain $7 million from his mother’s death — money she inherited after the as-yet unsolved murder of her father, 87-year-old John Chakalos, in 2013.
Per the eight-count indictment charging Nathan Carman with his mother’s murder and several counts of fraud, he has long been suspected of gunning down his grandfather on Dec. 20, 2013, as the elderly man slept in his Windsor, Connecticut, home.
Nathan Carman has not as yet been officially charged with Chakalos’ homicide.
Prosecutors accuse Nathan Carman of lying when they asked and he denied ever purchasing a Sig Sauer rifle weeks before Chakalos’ murder. According to the indictment, Carman had, in fact, bought the rifle using his New Hampshire driver’s license.
Authorities believe Nathan Carman spent his portion of Chakalos’ inheritance — about $550,000 in total — between 2014 and 2016. When that money was gone, prosecutors say, he began concocting a way to kill his mother.
During Nathan Carman’s arraignment, federal prosecutors claimed he lived with untreated mental health issues, citing his alleged history of “social difficulties” and “explosive rages,” according to CT Insider.
“Carman’s alleged conduct clearly illustrates danger to the community,” U.S. Attorney Kerest stated. “The evidence shows that he killed not once but twice.”
Whether or not Nathan Carman will be granted conditional release has yet to be decided.
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