Nathan Carman — a potential heir to the fortune of a grandfather he is accused of murdering — is taking part in a civil trial that starts on Tuesday, but a judge has ruled against any mention of the 2013 murder of his grandfather, New Hampshire native John Chakalos.
The trial in U.S. District Court in Rhode Island pits Carman against insurance companies for the $85,000 claim he filed for his boat, the Chicken Pox, that sank off the coast of Rhode Island in 2016 with his mother aboard. Her presumed death may have put Carman in line to an inheritance that some media have estimated to be $7 million.
Last week, Judge John J. McConnell ruled that the trial will only concentrate on Carman’s work on the boat in 2016 and what effect that work had on any insurance claim. A second Rhode Island trial could be held in the future, depending on the outcome of the trial that starts Tuesday.
“Because the issue of Mr. Carman’s alleged intentional acts have been severed from this trial, there is no need for introduction of any evidence at this time about the death of his grandfather, or questions whether Mr. Carman intentionally caused the death of his mother,” McConnell decided Friday.
Carman had been slated for trial this summer in New Hampshire, where his three aunts and fellow heirs to Chakalos’ estate sued to block his share of his grandfather’s fortune, claiming he murdered Chakalos at Chakalos’ home in Windsor, Conn.
But Carman’s New Hampshire legal team convinced New Hampshire Probate Court Judge David King that Chakalos was not a New Hampshire resident, and the judge canceled a three-week bench trial that was to start this past June. Carman’s aunts have appealed King’s decision to the New Hampshire Supreme Court; last month, the Supreme Court accepted the case.
If the aunts prevail on appeal, a New Hampshire Probate Court judge will have to decide if Carman killed his grandfather.
In the Rhode Island case, the judge has said the trials will start at 9:30 a.m. each day.
He has limited each side to 15 hours and said a chess clock will be installed to monitor the time.
The aunts have filed as intervenors in that case.