A Vermont man died in jail Thursday morning while awaiting trial on federal charges of luring his mother on a fishing trip, killing her, and sinking the boat in a scheme to inherit her family’s property. the US Marshals Service said.
The Marshals Service, which announced the death in a statement, did not say how the man, Nathan Carman, 29, of Vernon, Vt, died.
Mr. Carman was being held at the Cheshire County Jail in Keene, NH after pleading not guilty last year to first-degree murder and fraud charges in the death of his mother, Linda Carman, during a prank fishing off the coast of Rhode Island in 2016.
The Marshals Service said the Keene Police Department was investigating. A police spokesman declined to comment.
Jail officials found Mr. Carman « unresponsive overnight » in his cell, where he was the sole occupant, Douglas L. Iosue, the superintendent of the Cheshire County Department of Corrections, and Christopher C. Coates, the county administrator, they said in a statement.
Mr. Carman was due for trial in October.
Martin J. Minnella, an attorney for Mr. Carman, said prosecutors told him Mr. Carman had left a note for him and his other attorney, David X. Sullivan, although they had not yet seen him. and they didn’t know what he said.
« We had no indication that anything was wrong, » Minnella said. “We wanted to go to court and let the truth about this guy be known because the truth just wasn’t out there. My mind is blown. It’s a complete surprise.
Mr. Sullivan said there was no indication that Mr. Carman might be in danger from fellow inmates or at risk of suicide.
« I spoke to him last night for about an hour between 6 and 7, and he was in great spirits, » Sullivan said, adding, « I am deeply saddened and disturbed by his loss. »
A lawyer for Ms Carman’s three sisters, who sued Mr Carman in 2018 to prevent him from inheriting money and accused him of killing Ms Carman and their father, John Chakalos, released a statement saying he be « deeply saddened to hear of Nathan’s passing. »
« As we process this shocking news and its impact on the tragic events that have shaped the past few years, we ask for your understanding and respect for our privacy, » the statement read.
In an unsealed indictment in May 2022, federal prosecutors accused Mr. Carman of killing his mother while boating off the coast of Rhode Island in September 2016 and making false reports to authorities about how it had happened.
Federal prosecutors didn’t specify how they believed Mr. Carman killed his mother, but they said his boat, called Chicken Pox, was deliberately scuttled. Mr. Carman spent eight days adrift at sea before the crew of a commercial vessel, the Orient Lucky, found him floating in a life raft.
In 2013, as another part of his plan, Mr. Carman grabbed his Sig Sauer rifle and shot and killed Mr. Chakalos, who had become wealthy building and renting nursing homes and other real estate ventures in Windsor, Connecticut . . Mr. Carman has not been charged with that murder, according to the indictment.
The indictment alleged that Mr. Carman had « concocted cover stories to cover up his involvement in those murders. » It did not specify how much money Mr. Carman could inherit. The AP reports it that, as his mother’s sole heir, he would receive $7 million.
Suspicions about Ms. Carman’s death first surfaced in September 2016, when the Coast Guard found Mr. Carman in an inflatable life raft without his mother. His body has never been recovered.
They had gone on a fishing trip after 11pm on September 17, 2016, to spend time together on Mr. Carman’s boat. It was Ms. Carman’s « main way of interacting with his son, » the indictment said.
By that time, Mr. Chakalos had been dead for three years and Mr. Carman had already received $550,000 as a result. The money was mostly spent in the fall of 2016 because he was unemployed for long periods, the indictment said.
Federal prosecutors said Mr. Carman planned and prepared for his mother’s killing in several ways: He removed flaps — metal plates that help stabilize performance — from the boat and he removed his computer from his home to prevent officials from examining him while he was away.
He intended to report the sinking of the Chicken Pox and the disappearance of Mrs. Carman as « accidents, » the prosecution said.
Mr. Carman said The AP in 2016 that « what happened on the boat was a terrible tragedy that I’m still trying to process and still trying to come to terms with. »
She added that she didn’t know « what to make of suspicious people » and that she had « enough to deal with ».
Edward Medina contributed report.