BURLINGTON — The prosecution and the defense say they believe there is no need currently for a mental health evaluation for a Windham County man charged with murder on the high seas in the death of his mother and seven counts of fraud.
Nathan Carman, 28, of Vernon was brought into U.S. District Court in Burlington by deputy federal marshals for a brief hearing Friday afternoon. Carman wore a green prison suit, sneakers and a blue COVID mask.
Chief Federal Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford said he was interested in knowing sooner – not later – whether either side thought competency would become an issue and would need an evaluation.
Assistant Federal Defender Mary M. Nerino said she “firmly believed” there was no reason to consider the need for a test.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul J. Van de Graaf said the prosecution was not planning to make competence an issue at this time and knew of no reason to ask for a test.
Van de Graaf did remind the court that it was still free to order an evaluation on its own motion.
With everybody in agreement no mental health exam was needed currently, Crawford cut short the hearing. Crawford noted that if anything changed that he would consider any requests.
Federal prosecutors had said earlier in court papers Carman was treated for mental health issues from when he was a small child until he was 17 years old. He had avoided any more treatment since, they said.
“For an individual who would kill his own family members, nothing is off the table,” prosecutors wrote. A hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Carman pleaded not guilty in U. S. District Court in Rutland on May 11 to the 8-count federal indictment.
Crawford has ordered Carman detained pending a detention hearing. He is held at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans.
Assistant Federal Defender Sara M. Puls has asked for a delay in the detention hearing to prepare a possible release plan for Carman. She said time was needed to seek potential witnesses, records and conduct other consultations and investigations.
“This is a complex case with factual allegations dating back to 2016 where many of the allegations occurred out of state,” Puls wrote.
Crawford has agreed to provide 60 days to start and said he would be willing to consider additional time, if needed.
A federal grand jury in Rutland returned a sealed indictment on May 2 charging Carman with three counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud and one count of murder on the high seas.
Carman was arrested May 10 at his Windham County home and arraigned the next day.
He is charged with killing Linda Carman, his mother, on Sept. 17 and 18, 2016 “willfully, deliberately, maliciously, and with premeditation.” The homicide happened “within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States,” the indictment said.
If convicted on the murder charge, Carman could get a life sentence in prison. Each fraud charge carries up to 10 years.
The indictment also maintains Nathan Carman killed his grandfather, John Chakalos, as he slept at his home in Windsor, Conn. on Dec. 20, 2013 as part of a scheme to obtain money and property from his estate. He was shot twice and nobody has been charged with the homicide.
Nathan Carman bought a Sig Sauer rifle at Shooter’s Outpost in Hookset, N.H. on Nov. 11, 2013 and that it was used as part of inheritance scam that covered nearly a decade, prosecutors and the indictment spell out.
After Chakalos’ death, Carman received $550,000 as a beneficiary from two bank accounts that his grandfather had set up – payable upon his death.
Carman moved to Vernon in 2014 from an apartment in Bloomfield, Conn. He was unemployed much of the time. Carman became low on funds by the fall of 2016, according to prosecutors.
That is when authorities said a death plan was developed to take his mother fishing near Block Island, R.I. and manipulated the boat, the Chicken Pox, so he could get it to sink. Carman was found a adrift in an inflatable raft 8 days later. The body of his mother was never recovered.