Prospective heir to millions from slain grandfather, missing mother believes aunts hate himBy MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader
May 21. 2018 9:01PM
CONCORD — Nathan Carman, the potential heir at the center of a civil case challenging his access to an inheritance of millions, told reporters on Monday that he believes his aunts hate him.
Three of his aunts hope to convince a probate court judge that Carman shot and murdered his grandfather, New Hampshire native John Chakalos, in December 2013. Proving the murder in civil court would keep Carman from collecting his inheritance.
Although he was investigated by police, Carman has never been charged with a crime in his grandfather’s death, or charged with any crime involving the disappearance of his mother, Linda Carman, three years later while boating with her.
Carman appeared in Concord Probate Court on Monday for a pretrial hearing. A judge discussed his lack of a lawyer, a trial schedule and whether New Hampshire has jurisdiction in the case.
Carman then spoke to reporters for about four minutes. He denied killing his grandfather and said he understands the emotional toll it has taken on his aunts.
“It is my feeling my aunts hate me, even before my grandfather died. I don’t hate them,” he said.
Carman said his faith in God and his relationship with Chakalos allows him to persevere.
“This isn’t about hate. It’s about justice,” said Dan Small, the Boston lawyer representing the three aunts.
He said the Chakalos murder was carefully planned, and he called on Carman to quit using the Fifth Amendment and turn over his semi-automatic rifle, which they believed was used to kill Chakalos.
“Nathan has talked about how much he loves his grandfather, but now he’s saying that producing what we believe to be the murder weapon would incriminate him. That’s not love, it’s murder,” Small said.
In court, Carman answered questions in his soft-spoken, matter-of-fact tone.
He said he plans to depose his aunts, especially Valerie Santilli, the lead plaintiff in the case and the executrix of the estate. He said Santilli and Chakalos had arguments about an unspecified money matter before his death, and he will raise that during any deposition.
Small said his clients will do whatever must be done to win the case, including submitting to his questioning during depositions. He called Carman’s allegations “ugly nonsense.”
The biggest issue in court Monday was Carman’s claim that any trial should not be in New Hampshire because it was not Chakalos’ real home.
He said his grandfather voted in New Hampshire and had a New Hampshire driver’s license to take advantage of the low tax climate. But Chakalos rarely slept in the Granite State, Carman said.
“I remember him telling me if he could only have one home, it would be the home in Windsor, Connecticut,” Carman said.
Probate Court Judge David King did not rule on the matter.
In a previous hearing, King encouraged Carman to hire a lawyer. Carman said on Monday that his Vermont home remains on the market and when he sells it, he can afford a lawyer.
On Monday, King said Carman has a right to move forward, and the judge said he would not delay a trial because he does not have a lawyer.
“Mr. Carman, I’d like to get this case over with. I don’t want it sitting around for a year,” King said.
Small claimed that Carman’s decision not to hire a lawyer is tactical, not financial. He said one of the family trusts offered to provide Carman with a lawyer at one point. But Carman said he would not go through with the offer because Santilli and another trustee demanded he answer numerous questions.
King said he hopes that depositions can begin soon. He suggested that both sides agree to a referee who would sit in on the depositions and rule on legal issues whenever they come up. King also ruled that a Connecticut police affidavit that he sealed in the case is available publicly in Connecticut, and there was no longer a reason for him to seal it.
The net value of the Chakalos estate was reported at $19.59 million, according to a filing made two years ago in probate court in Cheshire County.
Carman would be eligible for two trusts worth millions, the aunts have said in court papers.