Lawyer: Evidence could exonerate man in grandfather's death

A lawyer for a Vermont man accused by relatives of killing his millionaire grandfather and his mother to collect inheritance money said Tuesday that there is evidence that could exonerate him in the death of his grandfather.

David Anderson, who is representing Nathan Carman, made the statement during a hearing in federal court in Providence, Rhode Island, The Hartford Courant reported .

Carman, of Vernon, Vermont, denies any involvement in the deaths of his grandfather, John Chakalos, who was fatally shot in his home in Windsor, Connecticut, in 2013, and his mother, Linda Carman, who disappeared at sea in 2016 during a mother-son fishing trip near Rhode Island. No one has been charged in the deaths.

Anderson said in court there is evidence that Chakalos had a long phone conversation with a woman about money on the night of his death. He also said there is a witness who says Chakalos was killed about 2 a.m., and there is video that shows Carman was in his apartment until 2:40 a.m.

Anderson declined further comment after the hearing.

Police have said Carman was a suspect in Chakalos' death and was the last person to see Chakalos alive, but a prosecutor declined to sign an arrest warrant. Carman owned a semi-automatic rifle that police said was similar to the one used to kill Chakalos, but the firearm has disappeared.

Chakalos left more than $29 million to his four daughters, and $7 million of that money could go to Nathan Carman. Linda Carman's three sisters have filed a petition in probate court in New Hampshire, where Chakalos owned a home, asking a judge to bar Nathan Carman from getting his mother's share of Chakalos' estate.

The court hearing on Tuesday was part of a lawsuit against Nathan Carman filed by National Liability and Fire Insurance Co., which insured Nathan Carman's boat. The bank sank two years ago during the fishing trip in which Linda Carman disappeared. Nathan Carman was rescued at sea after being found floating on a life raft a week after they left a Rhode Island marina.

The insurance company is seeking to avoid payment on an $85,000 policy for Carman's boat, accusing him of making alterations to the boat that caused it to sink. The company also has been trying to get him to testify about the rifle it claims in court papers was used to kill Chakalos.

Judge Patricia Sullivan said Tuesday that she will grant the insurance company's request to reopen Carman's deposition to allow the company's lawyers to ask him about the rifle. Sullivan said Carman can invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and decline to answer the questions.