Man fingered in relatives’ deaths still needs attorney

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The Vermont man accused by relatives of killing his millionaire grandfather and his mother told a New Hampshire court Thursday that he still lacks money for an attorney to defend himself against a lawsuit aimed at keeping him from benefiting from the deaths, in which no one has been charged.

Nathan Carman told a Connecticut court last week that he needs $150,000 to hire a lawyer for suits in New Hampshire related to his inheritance and the sinking of his boat during a trip in which his mother was lost at sea.

In the hearing Thursday in a New Hampshire court, Carman said his only hope of hiring an attorney for the trial set to start Jan. 21 would be to gain access to that $150,000 or to sell his home. He said the home was listed for $80,000 but so far he has no offers.

“It’s my hope that when the case runs its course that I’ll have access to funds,” Carman said, adding that he would be ready for the January trial. He accused his relative’s lawyer of spreading lies about him and misleading the court about his need to access the trust.

The relatives’ attorney, Dan Small, argued that Carman didn’t need the money for legal representation, noting previous attorneys he fired were working on a contingency basis.

“Money has never been an issue in this case,” Small told the court. “This situation is 100 percent of Mr. Carman’s making … and it turns out, 100 percent nonsense.”

Last week, Carman asked a Connecticut probate judge to remove his aunt, Valerie Santilli, as a trustee, arguing she doesn’t have his best interest at heart because she believes he is responsible for the deaths of his grandfather and mother. Her attorney said she hasn’t provided the money because he has refused to hand over documentation showing why he needs the money — evidence Carman fears would be used against him at trial.

The probate judge did not indicate when he would make his decision.

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.

Carman’s three aunts sued him last year in New Hampshire, where Chakalos owned another home and filed his will. They’ve asked a judge to block Carman from collecting money from his grandfather’s estate. Chakalos left more than $42 million to his four daughters, including Linda Carman.

Carman has argued the case lacked standing in New Hampshire, saying his grandfather didn’t spend that much time in the state.

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